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Archive | December, 2020

Merry Christmas from the POST

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New state flag at the library

Rep. Mark Huizenga donated a new Michigan state flag to the Cedar Springs Public Library on Wednesday, December 23. 

“Ours was tattered,” explained Library Director Donna Clark. 

It will replace the one donated by Rep. Huizenga in February of this year. 

The photo shows Clark, City Councilor Rose Powell, her grandson Turner Powell, who attends Creative Technologies, and Rep. Huizenga.

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Visiting with snow grandparents

Lori Ostrom, of Nelson Township, sent us this cute photo of “snow grandparents” that her daughter, Harlee, 11, made. “My daughter misses her visits with Grandma and Grandpa.  It’s too cold for them to come outside and socially distance visit, so over the weekend she made snow-grandparents on their back porch to visit and entertain them. Great idea, Harlee!

Send us your snowman or winter photos, along with some info about the picture, to news@cedarspringsposts.com.

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MDHHS begins cautious re-opening of high schools and indoor entertainment, modifying successful pause

Gatherings remain limited, but high schools, casinos, bowling alleys, theaters can reopen

LANSING, MICH. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) updated its epidemic order last Friday, December 18, to allow indoor activities where Michiganders can remain masked, saying this has been scientifically shown to slow the virus. This includes in-person learning at high schools and indoor entertainment venues. Casinos, bowling centers and movie theatres will be allowed to reopen with total capacity capped at 100; food and drink concessions closed; and social distancing requirements in place. The new order was effective Monday, Dec. 21 and will last until Friday, Jan. 15.

“These past few weeks, Michiganders across the state stepped up and did their part to slow the spread of COVID-19, and because of our collective hard work, we are now able to begin the steps to carefully lift some of the protocols we have in place,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “I am encouraged by the progress we have made since early November, and will continue to monitor the data closely during and after the holidays. One of the most important things Michiganders can do right now is make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine as soon as it’s available to you. And as always: mask up, practice safe social distancing, and avoid indoor gatherings where COVID-19 can easily spread from person to person. We will eradicate this virus together.”

“We have made some progress in our fight against this pandemic, and this was a historical week as we started to distribute life-saving vaccines,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “It is important that everyone continues to do their part. Start planning for when you will get a vaccine when it is available to you, and let’s avoid a surge in cases after the holidays by avoiding gatherings, wearing our masks, and continuing to socially distance.”

Previously, MDHHS had identified stabilization or declines in three metrics as critical for relaxing protocols. Michigan saw improvements across all three following the pause implemented in mid-November:

Hospital capacity dedicated to COVID-19 patients: 13-day decline; current capacity is at 17.3% for beds with COVID-19 patients. Peaked at 20.1% on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Overall case rates: 27-day decline; currently at 439 cases per million. Peaked at 739 cases per million on Saturday, Nov. 14.

Positivity rate: 11-day decline; currently at 10.6% positive tests. Recently peaked at 14.3% on Friday, Dec. 4.

“Michiganders should be proud: we have made incredible progress over the last month. But we could easily lose that progress and endanger our hospitals again over the next two weeks,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “At Thanksgiving, most Michiganders sacrificed and avoided family get-togethers. We need to do the same thing this holiday season. Then we can re-engage more activities sooner and more safely.”

Indoor residential gatherings remain limited to 10 people and two households. MDHHS continues to urge families to avoid indoor gatherings or to pick a single other household to interact with consistent with guidance already released by the department. Families are encouraged to stay home this holiday season to maintain the positive momentum that has developed and to protect loved ones. Families are also encouraged to Mask Up, Mask Right, using new guidance for what masks to wear and how to wear them.

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Whitmer signs bill prohibiting water shutoffs

LANSING, Mich. — Governor Whitmer signed several bills into law Tuesday, including one that prohibits water shutoffs.

Senate Bill 241, creating the Water Shutoff Restoration Act, promotes access to clean water and protects Michiganders from the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring that every occupied residence has access to clean running water so that they can regularly hand-wash consistent with CDC guidance. The bill prohibits water shutoffs due to nonpayment and mandates that water services be restored to residences where shutoffs have occurred, in most circumstances, through March 31, 2021. This bill was sponsored by Senator Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit.

“Every Michigander deserves access to clean water, especially during a global pandemic,” said Governor Whitmer. “This legislation, spearheaded by Senator Stephanie Chang, will help ensure every Michigander can wash their hands and give their child a glass of water at the dinner table. My administration will continue working to ensure clean water for all Michiganders, and I look forward to partnering with everyone who wants to get this done.”

“I am beyond thrilled that Governor Whitmer signed Senate Bill 241 today and am grateful for her leadership and the bipartisan support from my colleagues”, said Senator Chang. “During this pandemic, access to clean water is more important than ever to ensure that Michiganders in big cities, suburban towns, and small villages across our state can have water to drink and wash their hands. So many Michigan families are struggling, and with COVID-19 still raging, we need to ensure that we are protecting Michigan families’ health and economic security. I will be eternally grateful to the advocates who have pushed for change for more than a decade.”

Senate Bill 1246 amends the Open Meetings Act to allow public bodies to meet electronically and remain in compliance. It also extends current remote attendance provisions to March 31, 2021. Once public bodies are again able to meet in-person, the bill requires compliance with social distancing and cleaning guidelines if they choose to hold in-person meetings. This bill was sponsored by Senator Lana Theis, R-Brighton.

Senate Bill 1234 amends the General Property Tax Act to adjust the procedures for obtaining a poverty exemption and, in certain cases, allows for extensions of the exemption without the need to reapply. This bill was sponsored by Senator Jim Runestad, R-White Lake.

Senate Bills 676 and 1137 amend the General Property Tax Act to establish a process for a former property owner to claim surplus proceeds from the sale or transfer of property, in accordance with the Michigan Supreme Courts recent ruling in Rafaeli LLC v. Oakland County. These bills were sponsored by Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township and Jim Runestad, R-White Lake.

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MDHHS confirms new MI COVID Alert text message outreach

Texts make it easier for residents to download the anonymous exposure notification app

 LANSING, MICH. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) confirmed the launch of a statewide text outreach aimed at increasing residents’ awareness of the state’s new exposure notification mobile app, MI COVID Alert.

The text messages, which began this month, make it simple to connect to and download MI COVID Alert. Each text includes information about the app and a link to the landing page on the state of Michigan coronavirus website with more information about how it works, details about how MI COVID Alert keeps user information anonymous, and links to Apple and Google app stores.

“We want Michiganders to know this is a legitimate communication from the department as we encourage them to take this easy step to protect themselves and others by downloading the MI COVID Alert,”vsaid Robert Gordon, director of MDHHS. “The more of us download the app, the safer we’ll be until a vaccine is available to the broader population.”

The texts encouraging Michiganders to download the app are sent to individuals based on publicly available resident contact information. Because MI COVID Alert users are anonymous, some individuals who already downloaded the app may still receive a text message.

Early text messages included a short link to healthymi.site/alert4 directing residents to the MI COVID Alert landing page. All new messages now display the link: michigan.gov/MICOVIDAlert.

The no cost, easy-to-use, anonymous app has been downloaded nearly half a million times—a figure that represents a little more than 9.5% of 18- to 64-year-olds in Michigan—in the initial weeks of the statewide launch. Oxford researchers found that when just 15% of a population used an exposure notification app like MI COVID Alert, there was a potential to reduce infections and deaths. For more information about MI COVID Alert, visit michigan.gov/MICOVIDAlert.

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Five-vehicle crash on US-131 sends two to hospital

Two people were injured Tuesday in a crash that involved five vehicles on southbound US-131 near Big Rapids.

According to the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office, they responded to the scene at about 10:04 a.m. on Tuesday, December 22, on southbound US-131 near 17 Mile Rd in Big Rapids Township.

Police said the accident occurred when a 30-year-old woman from Pierson had a medical episode and rear-ended a vehicle driven by a 62-year-old woman from Reed City. One of the vehicles involved in the crash became disabled in the roadway and was struck by two additional vehicles. One of the additional vehicles was driven by a 59-year-old woman from Big Rapids and the other additional vehicle was driven by a 60-year-old man from Rockford. The 60-year-old man rear-ended the disabled vehicle and then rear-ended an unoccupied vehicle that was parked on the shoulder.

The 30-year-old woman was not injured in the accident. The 62-year-old woman was transported to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital and then transferred to Spectrum Health Butterworth hospital for serious injuries that were non-life threatening. The 59-year old woman was transported by family to Spectrum Health Big Rapids hospital for non-life threatening injuries. The 60-year-old man received treatment on scene. 

Deputies were assisted by Mecosta County EMS, Big Rapids Fire/Rescue, and Big Rapids Twp Fire/Rescue.

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Update on Solon Township fire

The fire started in the garage and spread to the house, causing $150,000 worth of damage to this home on Antler Drive last week. Photo courtesy Solon Township Fire facebook page.

By Judy Reed

The Post wrote about a fire on Antler Drive in Solon Township last week, but we did not have all the details at press time. Jeff Drake, the Solon Township Fire Chief, gave us some details earlier this week on the fire that we can now pass along.

Drake said when they first received the report of the fire at 16685 Antler Drive around 6:37 p.m., December 15, dispatch reported it was in the attached garage. While enroute to the scene, it was updated to say it had spread to the house. 

The firefighters arrived to find flames through the garage and living area roof.  All occupants were out on arrival except for two cats, which firefighters found and removed safely.

The fire started in the attached garage due to careless discard of smoking material and spread to the interior of home causing significant damage to kitchen and living room.

Total damage was estimated at $ 150,000 for structure and contents.  The owner is insured.

Mutual aid was provided by Sand Lake, Cedar Springs, Algoma, & Plainfield Fire Departments.

They cleared the scene at 9:34 p.m.

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Men and Ladies of Honor give back to the Men and Ladies in Blue

Lady of Honor Kayla Walters from Cedar Springs High School with some local police officers and the sign that she made for them. 

By Luke Price 

The Men and Ladies of Honor program teaches young men and ladies biblical character and how to live their lives through Christ. The current project they put together was called Christmas Campaign. It was all about giving back to our own brave local police officers who put in the hard work to keep our communities safe. 

In this project, the young men and ladies gave food and Christmas goodies to the police as a way to say “Thank You” for all they do. During these troubling times, they have had to put in a lot of extra time and have had to deal with many troubles during this pandemic. Not only that but the fact that the current state of our nation is wanting to have their funding cut. Men and Ladies of Honor hopes that this inspires more people to help their communities and the people in them.

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Bid awarded for Cedar Springs Drain

By Judy Reed

The Kent County Drain Commission opened the bids via a Zoom meeting last Friday for the Cedar Springs Drain project, and Dean’s Landscaping and Excavation won the project with the lowest bid for the work.

Dean’s, a Sand Lake-based company, bid $835,008.50 for the project. Other companies bidding on the project included Diversco Construction ($914,959); Kamminga and Roodvoets ($919,205.25); Nagel Construction ($991,626.25); and Epic Excavating ($1,060,982.73).

Cedar Springs Drain is a closed storm sewer system which serves properties within the City of Cedar Springs and Nelson Township by collecting the storm water runoff from properties and roads within the drainage district. The drain is over 80 years old and is being relocated.

Currently the drain runs west along Beech and north on Grant Street, then west again between Cherry and Elm, under some Main Street businesses, under the parking lot where the old community building stood and westward to Cedar Creek.

The Kent County Board of Determination held a public meeting in front of residents in June of 2018 to see whether a petition to move the drain should be approved. It was. They found it was a hazard to be running underneath buildings, especially if the old pipes burst.

The project includes approximately 760 feet of 60-inch by 38-inch elliptical concrete storm sewer and 815 feet of 45-inch by 29-inch elliptical concrete storm sewer with an average depth of seven feet. The project also includes 2,600 square yards of road restoration, lowering water mains, concrete drive restoration, and concrete curb and gutter. 

Residents in the drain district had already received notification of what their apportionment percentage of the cost will be and they should soon see a letter in their mailbox telling them what the dollar amount is they will need to pay over a 20-year period. The cost will be assessed on their winter tax bills. 

There will be a Day of Review of the drainage district boundaries and review of apportionments for residents on Friday, January 15. While the Drain Commissioner hopes to hold an in-person meeting with residents, if that is not possible due to the coronavirus mandates, then the meeting will be held via ZOOM. Meeting ID: 921 1482 5722 Passcode: 1152021 Call-In#: 1 646 876 9923.

The Drain office will post an update on its website regarding this prior to the Day of Review. If you have questions prior to the Day of Review, you can email drinfo@kentcountymi.gov and they will provide you with information. Or you can telephone their office at (616) 632-7910.

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