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Archive | October, 2020

Pumpkin giveaway hits the mark

By Judy Reed

It may have looked a little different this year, but last Saturday’s Green Family & Friends pumpkin giveaway was just what the doctor ordered for families in Cedar Springs this fall. 

The event, a drive-thru trunk or treat and pumpkin giveaway put on by the Cordell Green family and supported by partners from City Impact, Rise Up Church, and more, estimates at least 1,000 people attended.

The event was held from 2-6 p.m. in the Cedar Trails drop off/pick up area. About 300 cars entered from Northland Drive and on to Holton Drive (by Green Acres) and took turns driving through the drop off area. The area was set up with regular masked volunteers, and costumed volunteers who decorated their car trunks and served kiddoes in each car with all kinds of candy treats as they made their way around the circle. Kids saw all kinds of costumed characters, including sharks, spiderman, a dinosaur, and a gorilla who sometimes stole their candy!

Cordell Green estimated 300 cars drove through, and they gave out 850-900 trick or treat bags. They also gave out over 1,000 hot dogs, chips waters, cotton candy, and cookies. At the very end, each child also got a pumpkin.

“I’d like to thank all the volunteers and co-hosts,” said Green. “Without them, it wouldn’t happen.”

Kelley Bergsma, with City Impact, was also excited on how well the event turned out. “The event was fabulous!” she said. “So many families commented that it was an amazing idea for the times we are in. There was joy! (There was) a sense of community and love, so many smiles and fun creative trunk or treat stations, so much yummy food and pumpkins! What a day of fun and it was bumper to bumper almost the whole time. Families said it was well worth the wait. Once again, Cordell Green’s event blessed this red flannel town! It was fun to partner with so many people.”

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MDOT prepares to meet the challenge of winter during a pandemic

With winter already on its way to parts of the state, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is doing what it does every year: preparing. But this winter may pose new challenges for keeping our roads clear.

“Over the years, maintenance workers at the state and local levels have handled everything winter could throw at them but, with the continuing threat of COVID-19, this is going to be an unprecedented winter,” said State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba. “We’re working with local agencies and county road commissions to plan for contingencies, but we want drivers to know the pandemic could affect our ability to maintain winter levels of service.”

The goal of MDOT and its partner agencies remains clearing highways to bare pavement as quickly as possible after a winter storm. If MDOT or local contract agencies are temporarily affected by COVID-19 infections or associated quarantines, it may take longer to reach this goal.

“During snowstorms, MDOT and our contract agencies will have all available staff out working to clear roads as quickly as possible,” Ajegba said. “We’ll be asking the public for their patience and understanding if we need to manage temporary staff shortages. We’ll do the best we can with the resources available.”

As we move into winter, drivers need to remember they also share responsibility for safety when they venture out. Motorists must follow Michigan’s Basic Speed Law, which requires them to drive at a “careful and prudent” speed in all driving conditions that also allows them to be able to stop within the clear distance ahead. It may mean driving slower than the posted speed limit.    

MDOT and Michigan State Police (MSP) collaborated to produce a video (which you can find on youtube at (https://youtu.be/hCG85h7sm-c) with information on how roads are maintained each winter and the actions motorists should take now to be prepared for inclement driving conditions. The video also covers:

  • How to prepare your vehicle for winter driving, such as making sure tires are in good condition and that all snow and ice have been cleared from your vehicle before heading onto the road;
  • Why drivers should give plow operators extra space, and consider staying behind them in winter storms;
  • How drivers can see what plow truck operators see through the Mi Drive travel information website, at (https://mdotjboss.state.mi.us/MiDrive/map) and see their position on state routes in real time; 
  • The use of green lights on plow trucks; 
  • Michigan’s mover over law at (www.michigan.gov/documents/MDOT_Vehicle_Caution_Law_116834_7.pdf) which requires motorists to move over for stationary emergency vehicles with their lights activated or slow down and pass with caution if it is not possible to safely change lanes, and 
  • Other reminders for winter driving, such as avoiding distractions, using headlights during winter weather, and leaving extra space between vehicles.

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Sand Lake drain upgrade to cost taxpayers $633,000

By Judy Reed

A simple petition to the Kent County Drain Commission has turned into a financial nightmare for residents in Nelson Township and the Village of Sand Lake.

The call to the Drain Commission a year ago by a property owner and his neighbor about sinkholes in their yard (which had been present for nearly 20 years) started a chain reaction that no one saw coming. According Drain Commissioner Ken Yonker, the clay tile was reportedly over 90 years old and had collapsed. In order to fix it, the Village of Sand Lake needed to petition the Drain Commission. A board of determination was then held by the Drain Commission back in February, and it was determined that the drain needed to be upgraded. What no one knew, until recently, was how much it was going to cost: $633,369.28.

That’s $415,490.08 to the special assessment district (residents); $19, 562.65 for Kent County Roads; $13,496.17 for Village roads; $101, 675 for Nelson Township at large; and $83,144 for the Village of Sand Lake at large.

A letter was recently sent out about a meeting on the assessments. Taxpayers were told they did not have to attend the meeting but could go online to see their assessment. While some may only pay a few hundred spread out over six years, others will have to pay much more. 

“Some people are being assessed $20,000, $40,000 and more,” said Nelson Township Supervisor Robyn Britton, who said she is heartsick for these residents. “People here live paycheck to paycheck. Many are farmers. People are going to lose their homes.”

One resident, Dean Wall, is being assessed $135,000 over the six-year period. When he looked at his assessment, he made a call to the Drain Commission about it, and then began asking his neighbors if they had looked at their assessments to alert them to what was going on. In a Zoom special meeting put on by Nelson Township Tuesday evening for questions and answers regarding the issue, Wall questioned Drain Commissioner Ken Yonkers. Yonkers then blasted Wall, accusing him of stirring up his neighbors.

“I’ve been getting feedback from people that you’re the one that’s angry and stirring everybody up and making a lot of false accusations and I’m letting everybody know. Number one, you were invited to bid this project. Number two, you’ve seen the design of this project, when you bid it you never made a comment about this being a poor design. You bid it. Number three, you didn’t get the job, then this whole thing flared up. And as this thing continues to flare up, that cost—that computation of cost—is going up. Every day, the attorneys got to deal with this thing, the cost is going up. And everybody—the calls I’ve gotten in my office—from people stirred up, your name is the one consistent name that keeps coming through.”

People in the meeting were surprised by Yonker’s outburst, and Supervisor Robyn Britton told him she was taken aback by his comment, considering they had only just got the numbers Thursday, and it was hurtful to tell residents the costs were going to keep going up if they complained.

“As an elected officer that is elected to represent the community he serves, that was embarrassing,” Britton told the Post. “It was shameful. He is not ‘hired’ to do this (as he said), he is elected. And he’s threatened the residents about the cost going up.

“Dean Wall had every right to talk to his neighbors,” she added. “He has lived and worked in this community all of his life. He had the right to ask his neighbors if they knew about this. Many of them don’t even have internet. He was the only one to let them know.”

According to information given by engineer John Moxie during the Zoom meeting, the drain is being upgraded to a much larger size to last another 50-100 years. “We don’t want to come back and have to do this every decade,” he said.

At the end of the meeting, the Nelson Township board made a motion to pursue an appeal, but it failed. “They didn’t want to spend money on something they felt would fail, based on past experience with the drain commission,” she said.

Britton said she doesn’t think the residents who made the complaint had any idea the effect it would have. In fact, a former Sand Lake Village board declined to do a petition, after finding out what it would entail. 

“I’m worried about the single mother with four kids and a deadbeat dad who can’t afford another $700,” said Britton. “Or those on disability—a fixed income. And Resurrection Lutheran Church, they’ve been assessed $16,000. Churches don’t have any money,” she added.

For now, it doesn’t look like there is any way for residents to get out from under the assessment, but she would keep looking for ways to mitigate it.

The project would start sometime in 2021.

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Remember to drop off absentee ballots

City Hall will be open Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to take city ballots

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said voters should not rely on the United States Postal Service to deliver absentee ballots this close to Election Day, which is next Tuesday, Nov. 3.

“We are too close to Election Day, and the right to vote is too important, to rely on the Postal Service to deliver absentee ballots on time,” said Benson. “Citizens who already have an absentee ballot should sign the back of the envelope and hand-deliver it to their city or township clerk’s office or ballot drop box as soon as possible. Voters who haven’t yet received their ballot should go to their clerk’s office to request it in person. They can fill it out, sign the envelope and submit it all in one trip.”

The clerk for the City of Cedar Springs will be at City Hall this Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for citizens who haven’t had a chance to drop off absentee ballots. 

Voters can find the locations of their clerk offices and ballot drop boxes at Michigan.gov/Vote. They can also track their ballot to ensure it is received by their clerk. If a voter sees their ballot is not received, they should contact their clerk’s office immediately.

Absentee ballots will be available at clerk offices for registered voters until 4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2. Unregistered voters can register at their clerk office and then vote an absentee ballot there through 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3.

Absentee ballots must be received by the voter’s city or township clerk by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3 to be counted. Voters may ask immediate family or a member of their household to deliver their ballot for them. 

Already in Michigan more than 3.1 million citizens have requested absentee ballots and more than 2 million citizens have voted and returned them. 

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Ribbon cutting held for dog park

The City of Cedar held a ribbon cutting ceremony on the new dog park at Riggle Park last Saturday, Oct. 24. Courtesy photo.
Cedar Springs City Manager
Mike Womack at the new
dog park with Mayor
Pro Tem Pam Conley’s dog.
Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

The City of Cedar Springs held a ribbon cutting for their newest addition to Riggle Park on Beech Street—an 18,000 square-foot dog park.

Work began on the park on October 9 and the ribbon cutting was held last Saturday, October 24.  

The area is just over .41 acres and split into two sections: 3,600 feet for small dogs, and 14,500 feet for big dogs.

The labor was all donated with City Councilpersons, Planning Commission Members, a DDA member and Privacy Fence Company, a local fencing company taking the lead on installation.  

“This dog park is something that we have wanted to have for our community for some time now so I was happy to be able to help organize it and install some of the fencing,” he told the Post earlier this month.

The dog park will be open dawn to dusk, same as Riggle Park. “The park will have posted rules but we just ask that people use common sense, obviously picking up your dog’s waste is a very important requirement that will help everybody enjoy the park,” said Womack.

Other projects that Womack said are in the works are the natural playground by the amphitheater; pickle-ball courts by Hilltop; a half-court basketball court in Riggle Park; a full size basketball court in Morley Park; and eventually a splashpad in the Heart of Cedar Springs.

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Galle becomes fully commissioned in the Men of Honor

Cedar Springs High School Senior, Dominyk Galle became the first student in our area to become fully commissioned as an ambassador for the Men of Honor on Thursday, October 22 at City Impact in Cedar Springs.

Men and Ladies of Honor is an international after school biblical character-building program for 6th grade through high school students that meets weekly usually in the public schools. Due to COVID, we are meeting at City Impact on Main Street. There are 5 clubs in the greater Grand Rapids/northern Kent County area schools and 7 in Muskegon.

Men of Honor was birthed in Texas in 2003. Founder/Executive Director Tony Rorie was a middle school principal in Dallas. He started to meet and mentor once a week with four of his biggest troublemakers. He would teach them the basics of manners, common courtesies, character and biblical leadership. By the end of the year, his group of 4 grew into 50. Ladies of Honor was birthed shortly after. You can find MLOH clubs around the nation and in 11 countries.

Becoming fully commissioned in Men and Ladies of Honor is a high honor and is similar to the honor of becoming and Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts. The student first has to become partially commissioned. To do that, they have to complete 3-Men of Honor or Ladies of Honor magazines that teach about integrity, honesty, purity and more. They must also memorize the MOH or LOH axioms, which is their creed. At this point they are rewarded a dagger. The dagger represents the Sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.

To become fully commissioned, the student must now complete 6 more books with workbooks and memorize the Fellowship of the Unashamed. At this point, they are rewarded a Sword for the young men or a beautiful Shield of Faith for the ladies. The students are usually recognized at the end of the school year at a formal gathering with family, friends, and other community leaders at an Honor Gala. Due to COVID, this past year’s Gala had to be cancelled. 

Dom was honored after school with a small group of Men of Honor at City Impact. What makes Dom’s story so unique is that he started last September and has became fully commissioned within a year. This is truly remarkable. Way to go Dom!

Men and Ladies of Honor is meeting on Thursday after school from 2:45-4pm for high school student leaders and partners with En Gedi, an after school youth center. We are hoping to include the middle school students soon.

For more information about the MLOH program, become a volunteer leader or if you would like to make a donation, please contact West Michigan Regional Director Randy Badge at 616.799.5776 or email him at randy.badge55@gmail.com. You can also visit the MLOH website at www.honorchangeseverything.com.

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Schools Receive $1 Million More for COVID Relief

Kent County Board of Commissioners approve additional help  

– Kent County schools will receive an additional $1 million to offset costs related to COVID-19 after a vote of approval by the Kent County Board of Commissioners last week. In August, the Board approved $2 million for schools to be used to provide resources, services and purchase supplies directly related to the pandemic. The funding support for schools across the county comes from the $115 million dollar CARES Act grant sent to the County earlier this year to address COVID-19 concerns. 

“A safe, quality education is the expectation for the children of Kent County,” said Mandy Bolter, Kent County Board Chair.  “The additional funding approved today demonstrates the county’s commitment to playing a role in keeping our children and educators safe while school is in session.  I am proud our board voted to increase this effort,” continued Bolter. The Kent County COVID Relief Committee approved the additional funding at a recent meeting and the Kent County Board of Commissioners gave final approval last week.

“We appreciate the ongoing and additional support of the Kent County Board of Commissioners. This approval will help schools continue to secure the needed resources and services to meet the needs of students during this pandemic,” said Kent ISD Superintendent Ron Caniff.  

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Update on Sand Lake Village candidate

William Rau

Last week, we ran an article on the candidates running for election in the Village of Sand Lake. While compiling the information, we found that one of the candidates, William Rau, was listed at Kent County as a write in for the full four-year term but was campaigning for the two-year term. We brought that to the attention of Kent County elections, and they said they would contact him about it. In the meantime, we had to list him under the heading he had officially petitioned for.

We were notified earlier this week that Rau had withdrawn his petition for the four-year trustee seat, and is instead running as a write-in for the partial two-year term. 

Stacy Rudicil is also running for that position and is listed on the ballot.

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Be sure to vote

Tuesday, November 3 is election day here in Michigan and there are a lot of important races on the ballot—including President of the United States, federal and state senators and representatives; county offices such as sheriff, drain commissioner, county commissioner and judges; local city, township and village governments, school board candidates and more.

You can find your local ballot by going to https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/.

In area townships, most all the races are uncontested. We featured many of those in the August primary.

In the City of Cedar Springs, Councilors Jerry Gross and Rose Powell are running uncontested.

Cedar Springs School Board incumbents Trent Gilmore, Matthew Shoffner, and Trent Gilmore are also running uncontested for four more years. 

We ran the Village of Sand Lake candidates last week. You can read those bios on our website at cedarspringspost.com. 

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Recommendations to vote safely during COVID-19

Recommendations to vote safely during COVID-19

LANSING, Mich. –To ensure Michigan voters remain healthy and reduce the spread of COVID-19 during the Nov. 3 general election, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has released recommendations for voters, poll workers and election officials.

“This guidance allows Michiganders to carry out their right to vote while doing it safely during the pandemic,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “I encourage registered voters to consider voting alternatives to limit the number of people they come in contact with and to help reduce the spread of the virus.”

“Michigan citizens can cast their ballots safely and with confidence in this election,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “All election workers are required to wear masks and all voters are strongly encouraged to do so. Voters who already have absentee ballots can drop them off at their city or township clerk’s office or ballot drop box. Voters can also go to their local clerk’s office through Nov. 2 to vote early by requesting and submitting an absentee ballot.”

All registered voters may vote early by visiting their city or township clerk’s office through Nov. 2. There they can request, fill out and submit an absentee ballot all in one trip, or take their ballot home to fill out and sign the envelope before returning it to one of their jurisdiction’s ballot drop boxes by 8 p.m. on Nov 3. Election workers, who are required to wear masks, will ask voters to show photo ID.

Eligible citizens who are not yet registered may register, request and submit an absentee ballot at their local clerk’s office through 8 p.m. on Nov. 3

When you vote or return your ballot, practice healthy behaviors to protect yourself and slow the spread of the virus. These behaviors include:

  • Wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose.
  • Washing hands before entering and after leaving the polling location.
  • While in the polling location, frequently use alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet (about two arms’ length) of distance from others.

If you are sick or concerned you have been exposed to COVID-19, seek medical care. If you don’t have an absentee ballot, contact your local election office for guidance about voting options.

Guidance is based on the most current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and MDHHS recommendations for prevention of the spread of COVID-19. Read the “Recommendations for Healthy Voting in Michigan” for more helpful tips for voting this year.


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Red Hawks roll over Knights 36-6

Cedar Springs sophomore Antwuan Nicholls ran for a 61-yard touchdown. 
Quarterback Jeremy Campione runs with the ball. He racked up 141 yards rushing against Kenowa Hills.

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks were prepared to celebrate senior night and host the Kenowa Hills Knights for their last regular home game of the season last Friday, October 23, when an afternoon power upended their plans.

“The power went out at 4 p.m. and we made a decision to move the game to Kenowa,” explained Cedar Springs Coach Gus Kapolka. “I was proud of how our kids never lost focus and didn’t allow the power outage to phase us.  We went out and played well in spite of the disruption.

“A big thank you to our AD John Norton, Kenowa Hills Administration, our Transportation Staff, and our Athletic Department workers, especially Dana Hilyer, for making that change on the fly and allowing us the play the game.”

Cedar Springs opened up the scoring in the first quarter with 3:51 on the clock when Antwuan Nicholls ran up the middle for 61-yard touchdown. His run in for extra points was no good.

They scored again with 1:17 left in the second when Da’montae Barnett ran in for a 10-yard touchdown. Quarterback Jeremy Campione’s pass to Josh Kriekaard was good for two more points. At the end of the first half it was CS 14, KH 0.

The Red Hawks scored again at the beginning of the third quarter with 10:44 on the clock when Campione ran for a 57-yard touchdown. Alex Ream’s run into the endzone was good for two more points.

Kenowa Hills finally got on the board with 7:22 left in the third, when Andrew Bradley passed to Cadin Rose for an 11-yard touchdown. Bradley’s pass to Trey Perry for extra points was no good. 

Cedar Springs scored again with 1:07 left in the third. Cedar Springs had fumbled the ball, and Kenowa Hills recovered, making it 1st and 10 on the Kenowa Hills 3-yard line. The ball was given to Knight Ethan Ogden but he was tackled in the endzone by Cedar Springs, giving them a safety, for 2 points. At the end of the third quarter the score was CS 24, KH 6.

Cedar Springs scored twice more in the fourth quarter. The first was on a Da’montae Barnett 9-yard run with 11:54 left. Campione’s pass to Barnett for extra points was no good. The second was on a 3-yard run by Nathan Elliston. His run into the endzone for extra points was no good. 

The final score was CS 36, KH 6.

The Red Hawks racked up 398 yards on the ground. They were led by Jeremy Campione with 140 yards; Antwuan Nicholls with 99; Da’Montae Barnett with 87; Kyle Hoort with 41; Ryan West with 16; Alex Ream with 11; and Nathan Elliston with 3. 

Kenowa Hills had a total of 92 yards. Ethan Ogden led with 41 yards. QB Andrew Bradley completed 7 passes on 14 attempts, for 88 yards.

Kapolka was pleased with how well his team played. “We played our most complete game of the season,” he remarked. “All three phases were solid and we executed well.”

The JV Red Hawks, who had a great season, saw a little playing time as well. “Our JV’s finished 5-0-1. I’m pleased with their development and can’t wait to coach them during our playoff run,” he said.

The first playoff game is this Friday, at 7 p.m. at Red Hawk Stadium, where Cedar Springs (4-2) will host Petoskey (2-4).

What will Cedar Springs need to do win the game? “Petoskey is a quality opponent that will run a ball control offense and really try to shorten the game,” explained Kapolka. “We need to be stout on defense and continue to score points on offense to beat them.”

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Volleyball wraps up regular season, heads to Districts Nov. 4

The Lady Red Hawks at the Volley against Violence tournament last Saturday. Courtesy photo.

Cedar Springs Varsity volleyball fell to the Knights of Kenowa Hills on Tuesday, October 20, in the second round of the OK Gold Conference Tournament. The Lady Red Hawks battled in the four-set match, losing 17-25; 25-27; 25-20; and 14-25, sending them in search of a sixth place finish in the final round of play at a home match on Tuesday, October 26 against Ottawa Hills. 

The Red Hawks also competed in the 9th Annual Hesperia Volley against Violence tournament on Saturday, October 24, at Fremont High School. In first round play, the Red Hawks lost to Kent City 18-25; 23-25; and 20-25. Second round play resulted in a 1-2 loss to Fremont (20-25; 20-25; 25-23). The final match of the tournament delivered a 3-0 victory versus Reed City (25-16; 25-16; 25-18). Two Cedar Springs athletes earned All Tournament Team recognition: middle hitter Arianna Rau and setter Makenna Outwin. 

“The girls played hard together to build great momentum heading into our last week of play and districts,” stated Varsity Coach Ashley Lowing. 

Senior middle hitter Arianna Rau led in weekly stats with 21 kills, 12 blocks,4 aces and 19 service points. Aaliyah Calkins added 18 kills and 24 digs. Setter Makenna Outwin had 93 assists, 5 blocks, and 7 aces, with a team high 33 service points. Kennedi Jager tallied 12 kills and 4 blocks, while Cassidy Canfield registered 16 kills and 7 blocks. Libero Elizabeth Fettig owned the defense, recording 45 digs and 117 serve receptions. Alyssa Detweiller contributed 16 kills and 6 blocks, while defensive specialist Isis Polczsk had 25 digs and 43 serve receptions.    

The JV team lost to Kenowa Hills on October 20th 12-25; 25-19; and 12-15, while freshmen earned the win over the Knights 25-21;12-25; 15-7.

Volleyball played at home Tuesday evening against Ottawa Hills. Varsity then travels to Kent City on Saturday, October 31 to compete in a Quad with host Kent City, Fremont and Comstock Park. Competition begins at 9 a.m. Volleyball Districts begin for the Lady Red Hawks on November 4 at 6:30 p.m. at Northview High School against the winner of the Northview/Rockford first round match.      

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