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Are you ready for some football?

Photo by Rob and Kelly LaLone.

By Judy Reed

It’s the season that almost wasn’t. But boy are we glad it’s back!

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks, defending champions in the OK White, have moved to the OK Gold this season, after a conference realignment, so they will be up against some teams they haven’t recently played, but have the chance to rekindle some old rivalries and create new ones. Other teams in the conference include GR Catholic Central, Forest Hills Eastern, Kenowa Hills, Ottawa Hills, South Christian, Middleville Thornapple-Kellogg, and Wayland. 

The first three games were canceled due to the pandemic (Swan Valley, Rockford, and Forest Hills Eastern), so the Red Hawks take on Middleville Thornapple-Kellogg Friday night at home. 

According to Michigan-football.com, Cedar Springs is 1-1 against Middleville.

Please note that attendance this year is limited to 2 guests per athletic participant, so that means that for most of us, we will need to watch it on a streaming device, such as a computer, tablet, phone, or on the tv through the NHSF’s Roku channel. For more details on how to watch, click link below:

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Community welcomes soldier home

Members of the community and Kent County Sheriff’s Office welcomed home PFC Steven Elkowitz last Friday from duty at Fort Lee in Virginia.

At the age of 17, PFC Steven Elkowitz, the son of Jennifer and Steven Elkowitz Sr., joined the Army in 2018 during his Junior year. Last summer he attended basic training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. Steven then returned home to complete his senior year at Rockford High School. He came back home Friday from his duty at Fort Lee in Virginia, where he plans to attend college while continuing his reserve on the weekends. After his 6-year commitment, he plans on enlisting as an active duty Officer. 

The Elkowitz family recently moved to the Cedar Springs area, and resident Jeff Uhen helped organize the welcome home for the soldier.

“With just 48 hours to put this together, we had a wonderful turnout from our community and surrounding areas,” remarked Uhen. “There is nothing more special than an old fashioned motorcade to welcome home soldiers whom make sacrifices for us, in serving our great country, and it was just so amazing to see the support he received. A big special thanks to Lieutenant EJ Johnson, Deputy Lance Gilbert, and Deputy Terry Lecuru for coming out in support. Additionally, a special thank you to Cedar Springs Superintendent Scott Smith and his team for allowing us to stage at the High school.”  

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Equestrian team clinches championship

L to R: Coach Katie VanDyke, Parker VanDyke, Taryn Troupe, Melana Kettler, Lorraine Ives, Chloe Myers, Morgan Chaffin, Gloria Alaverz and assistant coach Dan Dunham. Missing from photo: Casey Fisk and Emily Eagan.

The Cedar Springs High School Equestrian Team competed in three district meets this season on Aug 29, September 12, and September 13. According to Coach Katie VanDyke, the Cedar Springs riders won all three district meets, besting their competition by over 200 points to earn the title of District 5, Division B Champions!  They will compete at regionals October 3-5.

Their riders are: Parker VanDyke, Chloe Myers, Gloria Alvarez, Melana Kettler, Taryn Troupe, Morgan Chaffin and Emily Eagan. Grooms are Casey Fisk and Lorraine Ives.

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Building torn down to make way for drain

The building at 17-19 N. Main Street was torn down this week. Photos by B. Powell.

By Judy Reed

The building at 17-19 N. Main Street, that many remember as the old Red Flannel Insurance building, was demolished earlier this week as part of the reroute of the Cedar Springs drain.

The building has not housed a business for at least four years; some of the more recent ones included Mercantile of Yesteryear; Hidden Treasures; Red Flannel Insurance and Barber’s Jewelry and Rau’s Real Estate. Even earlier ones include The Cedar Beauty Studio, and the office of the Rudell Creamery, later the Cedar Springs Creamery.

The building before it was torn down. Google photo.

The building originally was built to house a dentist office after a fire in 1909. According to information in both the Cedar Springs Story, by Sue Harrison and Donna DeJonge, and the Making of a Town—a historical journey through Cedar Springs, Michigan by the Cedar Springs Historical Society, Dr. George Ferguson’s office was destroyed in the fire, and he and young lawyer Thaddeus Taylor built the new brick building on Main Street with offices for both of them. 

Dr. Ferguson originally came to Cedar Springs after he became a railroad telegrapher for Grand Trunk Western Railroad in the spring of 1891 at the age of 19. He served various communities but later became interested in dentistry and earned his degree from the Detroit College of Dental Surgery. He practiced in Cedar Springs from 1907-1940. He was very active in the community, serving on the Board of Trade (Chamber of Commerce); the CS Board of Education; the local theater association; and others. His son, Ardale Ferguson, later had a gas station (Ferguson’s Super Service) built next to Dr. Ferguson’s office (in the 1920s), in the area now used as parking for Chase Bank (northwest corner of Cherry and Main St).

Thaddeus Taylor came to Cedar Springs in 1909. In 1910, he ran for the state legislature and won the right to represent 13 townships in northern Kent County, including the Village of Cedar Springs. He was only 23 years old and served from 1911-1913. He was only 23 years old, the youngest to ever serve. In 1976, he was honored by the legislator for that distinction. Taylor also served as Village Clerk, and in 1922 he moved to Grand Rapids to serve as a prosecuting attorney. He later was appointed a judge of the Superior Court and held that position for 27 years. 

To learn more about the Dr. Ferguson and Mr. Taylor, or the buildings on Main Street, purchase a copy of the Making of a Town from the Cedar Springs Historical Society.

The Post asked Kent County Drain Commissioner Ken Yonker for an update on the drain project.

He said they have secured all the easements needed for the re-route. “Our last permit needed is from EGLE to relocate the outlet a few hundred feet downstream of the current outlet,” he explained.

He added that they are expecting to have this project bid by the end of November with a completion date by the end of next summer.

“Once we get the bids and get the job awarded, we can get the bonding to finance the project,” he said.

Watch the Post for more updates on the project.

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Storms rip through area, leave thousands without power

This tree came down at a house on Fifth St. at Beech. Photo by J. Reed.
This tree stretched all the way across Pine Street, just east of Fifth Street.
Photo by J. Reed.

A severe thunderstorm tore through the area last Friday evening, August 28, with hail, heavy rain, and high winds that uprooted trees, sent branches flying, tore meters from homes, and downed power lines. Thousands in the area lost power.

The City of Cedar Springs, Solon Township, and Nelson Township were among some of the areas hit the hardest.

Roger Morganstern, a spokesman for Consumers Energy verified that. 

“The Cedar Springs area was one of the heaviest hit; there were about 8,500 customers affected, mainly from Saturday night (there were a small number out Friday night and Saturday morning). Just about everyone in the Cedar Springs area was restored by 8 p.m. Sunday night, Aug. 30. We had one small section on Solon Road, involving 42 customers off since 5:21 am Saturday that are scheduled to be restored later this afternoon,” he told the Post on Monday.

“We had a significant amount of tree damage in this small area, bringing down numerous spans of wires and breaking at least one pole and cross arm. This is also a marshy area which took additional time and equipment to make the repairs.”

He said that across all of Kent County, they had approximately 20,500customers affected. In the Greenville/Belding area, there was also a significant amount of damage with about 5,300 customers without power. Statewide, about 63,200 customers were without power.

In the City of Cedar Springs, trees and branches came down all over the city, including a large tree across Pine Street just east of Fifth Street. Several streets were closed off, including Park at Beech Street, while crews cleaned up.

There were also many trees down in Solon Township, including one across the road on Algoma, and another large tree on White Creek Avenue. Cedarfield also saw numerous trees down.

“The Cedarfield 55+ Community sustained extensive damage to trees and some structures during the storm last Friday evening,” said Marilyn Doane, manager. “The loss of 62 uprooted and broken trees saddens the entire neighborhood.  Clean-up crews are on the job this week and replanting will begin when able.”

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Missing man’s body found in Horseshoe Lake

Troopers from the Michigan State Police (MSP) Lakeview Post are investigating a drowning in Montcalm County’s Belvidere Township. 

Troopers responded to a missing person report on August 30 at approximately noon, where a 45-year-old male was reported missing from 730 Cedar Lake Rd. after not being seen since about 1:30 a.m.    

MSP canine teams responded to the location and began searching the wooded area behind the residence. The MSP Aviation Unit also responded, using a drone to aid in the search.  The drone camera detected possible areas to search in Horseshoe Lake. The MSP Marine Services Team responded to the area and located the victim in Horseshoe Lake, approximately 40 feet offshore in approximately in 13 feet of water during the evening hours of August 30.

The 45-year-old victim was identified as John Williams of Greenville, MI.  It is believed alcohol may have been a factor in the accident, which remains under investigation.

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Group swims across Lake Michigan

The swimmers celebrating their arrival at Ludington after crossing Lake Michigan. (L to R) Nick Hobson, Jon Ornée, Dave Ornée, Jeremy Sall, Todd Suttor and Matt Smith. Photo by Kent Esmeier / Framelight Visuals.

Last year we wrote an article about Jon Ornée, of Holland, and his cycling and swimming records four months after being hit by an SUV while cycling. He and his cycling buddies had cycled through Cedar Springs on their journey.

This summer, Ornée, who was team captain, and five other swimmers—including his brother Dave Ornée, Nick Hobson, Jeremy Sall, and Todd Suttor, all of Holland, and Matt Smith of Zeeland—took on the daunting task of swimming across Lake Michigan in an event they called EPIC SWIM 2020. The only other successful Lake Michigan mid-lake swim crossing in history was completed by Jim Dreyer in 1998. The Epic Swim Team followed the same route (Two Rivers, WI to Ludington, MI). Dreyer completed the solo swim in 40 hours and 56 minutes.

The group departs Holland for Wisconsin.
Photo by Michael Dillon / Pilot Field.

On Tuesday, August 11 at 4:15 p.m., EST, the six swimmers from West Michigan left the shore at Rawley Point Lighthouse in Two Rivers, Wisconsin to begin swimming across Lake Michigan. Ornée said the water was a chilling 51 degrees at the start of the swim in Two Rivers but warmed up pretty quickly in the first couple miles. Water temps hovered around 70 degrees for a majority of the swim. Waves were 2-4 feet for about 4 hours in the night but were under 2 feet for the majority of the swim.

The Team followed relay rules set forth by the Marathon Swimmers Federation. All six swimmers began and finished the swim together for the first and last half mile. The majority of the swim was completed relay-style in 30-minute legs with at least one swimmer in the water unassisted at all times. They had a lead boat which dragged a lane line behind it to help them stay on course. All of the swimmers were aboard a second boat which allowed for efficient relay exchanges and comfortable conditions while recovering between legs. For exchanges, the new swimmer would dive off the support boat, swim behind the previous swimmer and complete the exchange with a high five in the water. 

After a 20 hour and 50-minute journey through-the-night, they arrived on the other side at the Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington, Michigan on Wednesday, August 12 at 4:10 p.m. EST. It marked only the 2nd ever mid-lake crossing, first-ever relay-style crossing and by far the fastest-ever mid-lake crossing.

Despite some rocky conditions in the night, the swimmers were able to maintain a remarkably fast pace, covering the 54.5 miles in 20:50 for an average pace of 1:18/100yds (2.6 mph). For perspective, only one Pro Triathlete swam a faster pace at last year’s Ironman Wisconsin. 

The Team had a live tracker onboard which allowed thousands of viewers to follow their progress. They also posted several video updates to their Facebook page (facebook.com/epicswim2020) during the swim.

The swim couldn’t have happened without an awesome crew including 5 captains (Brad Hilton, Jeff Harten, Brad Stephenson, Mike Stephenson and James Grosse) and a spotter/medic (Jake Terpstra). Filmmaker Michael Dillon was also on board to document the entire adventure,” said Ornée.

EP!C SWIM 2020 raised money for FLOW (For Love Of Water), a Traverse City-based non-profit committed to protecting and preserving the Great Lakes.

Jon Ornée had been dreaming about putting together a 6-person relay across the lake for 7 years. Last May, he was hit by an SUV while cycling. “It was a near-death experience and a reminder that we only get one shot at this life; we’d better make the most of it,” he said. 

Since then he’s been on a mission to stop putting off the items on his bucket list and get after them as soon as possible. Four months after post-crash surgery to put his right arm back together, Ornée set 2 world records in a 4-day span. He completed the first-ever swim to North Manitou Island (7.4 miles in 2:50) and 3 days later set a new World Ultra Cycling record across Michigan covering the 205 mile route in 8:16 (24.8mph avg). A month later, Ornée organized a Sub-2 hour marathon relay which gained national attention following Eliud Kipchoge’s historic run. The relay team completed the marathon in 1:49:32. A long time touring musician, Ornée returned to his music roots this year with the launch of a new project with his wife called “Lady & Gentleman.” (lady&gentlemanmusic.com) The husband and wife duo has released 3 music videos in 2020. Ornée has 2 other cycling and running world records planned for 2020. Learn more about his story at jonornee.com.  

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Labor Day gas prices lowest since 2004

Gasbuddy reveals a 19 percent drop in amount of “labor” needed to fill up the tank

BOSTON (September 1, 2020) – Gasoline prices this Labor Day are set to be the lowest since 2004 according to GasBuddy, the travel and navigation app used by more North American drivers to save money on gas. The company predicts a national average of $2.19 per gallon, down nearly 37 cents from last year and the lowest priced Labor Day since 2004’s $1.82 per gallon average. Here in Cedar Springs, it was $2.01 at press time Wednesday.

“With Hurricane Laura now behind us and many refineries returning to service, gas prices will begin to head lower just in time for the Labor Day weekend,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis. “This will be the lowest Labor Day weekend gas prices since 2004, closing out an incredible summer at the pump with the most stable and lowest overall price from Memorial Day to Labor Day since 2004 as well. For motorists, the good news doesn’t end with

Labor Day: gas prices will likely continue falling as seasonal factors kick in, reducing demand, and in addition, we switch back to cheaper winter gasoline in just a couple of weeks.”

Given the drop in gas prices, GasBuddy’s study on how many hours motorists need to work to pay their annual gasoline expenses found that U.S. motorists can work 19 percent fewer hours on average to pay their annual gasoline bill (72.3) compared to 2019 (88.9).

“Despite the drop in amount of labor needed to fuel the car, it is sadly juxtaposed with historic unemployment rates,” said De Haan. “Fewer hours of work required to fill a gas tank does not offer much relief for millions of Americans without jobs across the country.”

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Red Hawks off to great start

The Red Hawks get their first win of the 2020 season.

In a world full of uncertainties, there was one thing for certain—the Red Hawks Boys’ Cross Country team was ready to race. In a dual meet, the team beat Kent City in their season opener with a score of 22 to 37. The race took place at Long Lake Park on Tuesday, August 25. 

In what is typically a slow course, senior Corey Bowers led the way from the start of the gun finishing first in a time of 17:16, a finish over two minutes ahead of the first Kent City runner. Gabe White, junior, showed just how talented of a runner he is finishing 2nd in a time of 18:49. Junior Carter Moleski was right behind White until the finish line but was unable to finish secondary to an injury. Senior Austin Mann finished 5th (19:24), and sophomore Espen Wood finished 6th (19:25), both displaying their strong summer training is payed off and secured the win for Cedar Springs. Senior Justin Voskuil (8th, 19:37), sophomore Eli Malon (9th, 19:41.03), and freshman Jack Sherburn (10th, 19:41.78) all got a taste of what varsity running is like. 

Freshman Zach Reed (13th, 20:15) got his first taste of a cross country 5K with an impressive performance followed closely by junior Gabe Minnich (14th, 20:22) who ran 1:09 faster than he did last year on this course. Freshman Eli Kleyenberg (17th, 20:48) ran a strong race and proved he is an extremely talented young runner. Senior Caleb Menefee (20th, 21:17), junior Cayden Steinebach (24th, 21:50), and freshman Elliott Moleski (25th, 22:14) each put in some strong solid racing. Alex Cole (junior) ran his first XC race ever, competing strong and finishing 26th with a time of 22:15.  Sophomore Jonathon Reed finished a crazy 4:30 seconds faster than he did a year ago on this course with a time of 22:25, finishing 27th.  Sophomore Matthew McQueen finished 30th at 23:31 followed by sophomore Luke Price (31st, 27:04) and sophomore Clayton Auwema (34th, 35:07) each running their first 5ks. 

“It’s a blessing to have an opportunity to compete during these uncertain times; not everyone can say the same,” said Coach Justin Jones. “The new race environment is an adjustment we are all getting used to but it’s worth doing whatever it takes to give our young men the life opportunities that sports provide. It’s been nearly a year since our boys have raced. We were a little over-anxious at the start and got out a bit quick. A great learning experience to get out of the way early on as our team is much younger than it has been in recent years. Our strong off-season was our saving grace and carried us to a nice win against a Kent City program with a long tradition of putting out some solid teams.”

The Red Hawks take to their home course Thursday, September 3, for a quad meet against Greenville, Belding, and Grand Rapids Covenant Christian with a race time start of 5 p.m. 

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Invasive European frog-bit found in Mid-Michigan

European frog-bit resembles small water lilies, with white, three-petaled flowers visible between June and August.

Boaters, waterfowl hunters and anglers can help prevent further spread

EGLE Aquatic Biologist Tom Alwin removes European frog-bit from a backwater area in Pentwater River State Game Area.

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy recently confirmed the presence of European frog-bit, an aquatic invasive plant, in four lakes within the Waterloo Recreation Area in Jackson and Washtenaw counties and one impoundment in the Dansville State Game Area in Ingham County.

Aquatic invasive species have the potential to harm Michigan’s environment, economy and human health. European frog-bit, which resembles a miniature water lily with leaves about the size of a quarter, can form dense mats on the surface of slow-moving waters like bayous, backwaters and wetlands. These mats can impede boat traffic and alter food and habitat for ducks and fish.

Spreading across Michigan

European frog-bit was first detected in southeast Michigan in 1996 and has since spread along the coastal areas of lakes Erie and Huron up to the eastern Upper Peninsula.

In 2016, the plant was discovered in Reeds and Fisk lakes in East Grand Rapids. It was found in several small bodies of water in Oakland County in 2018 and in the Lower Grand River in Ottawa County and Pentwater Lake in Oceana County in 2019.

While waterfowl, currents and stream flow can spread the plant and its seeds, European frog-bit, like most invasive species, travels farther and faster by human movement. Plant parts and seeds can become attached to boat motors, trailers, decoys and other recreational gear in an infested body of water and be transferred unintentionally to another location.

What is being done

To date, EGLE staff has completed surveys of bodies of water in the Dansville State Game Area and Waterloo and Pinkney state recreations areas, as well as most lakes with public access in the area, finding no additional infestations.

All visible frog-bit plants were successfully removed by hand from Mills Lake, but due to heavy infestations, Mud, Green and Winnewanna lakes and the Dansville State Game Area impoundment require more intensive response options that cannot be completed in 2020.

Survey and removal efforts are ongoing in West Michigan, where crews from the West Michigan Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) and the Gun Lake Tribe are working with EGLE to remove or treat infestations around heavily used boating access sites and to protect culturally and ecologically significant sites like wild rice beds in the Lower Grand River.

The Oakland County CISMA is continuing its survey of lakes and wetlands and has begun controlling the invasive plant in some infested areas. 

What you can do

To prevent further spread of European frog-bit, boaters, waterfowl hunters and anglers should clean, drain and dry boats, trailers and gear before moving them to a new location.

State law now requires boaters to do the following before transporting any watercraft over land:

Remove all drain plugs from bilges, ballast tanks and live wells.

Drain all water from live wells and bilges.

Ensure the watercraft, trailer and all conveyances are free of aquatic organisms, including plants.

If you spend time on or around the water, learn how to identify European frog-bit and report any sightings using the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network website at MISIN.MSU.edu or the MISIN downloadable app. When reporting, be sure to note the date, time and location of the sighting and take photos if possible.

Reports also can be made to EGLE’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program by email to EGLE-WRD-ANC@michigan.gov or by calling 517-284-5593.

To find out more about European frog-bit and other aquatic invasive species, visit Michigan.gov/Invasives.

Michigan’s Invasive Species Program is cooperatively implemented by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development

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