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Winter fun

Each winter we ask readers to send us their winter fun photos—snowmen, snow sculptures, kids sledding, skating, etc.—to brighten up these dreary winter days. This week we have Mason Jandron, 3, and Ryan Jandron, 5, of Cedar Springs, and their cute little snowman, which they built when we got some snow last month. The brothers did a great job! Thanks for sending us your photo!

Please note that we print winter fun photos as space allows.

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Post travels to Puerto Rico

Post designer, Belinda Sanderson, enjoyed her Caribbean cruise on the Empress of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship, last week. Tuesday, February 11th they visited Old San Juan, Puerto Rico and took some pics with some very friendly Macaws.

Are you going on vacation? Be sure to take along a printed edition of the Post and get someone to snap a photo of you or your family with it. Send it to us along with some info about your trip (where you went, who went along, what you saw) and send the photo and info to news@cedarspringspost.com. We will print as space allows.

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Three injured in crash

Three were injured in this crash at 13 Mile and Grange last Friday. Photos by L. Allen.

Three people were injured in a two-car crash in Algoma Township last Friday afternoon.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred at 3:55 p.m. on February 14, at 13 Mile and Grange. A 15-year-old driver’s education student was traveling southbound on Grange Ave NE and stopped for the stop sign at 13 Mile Rd NE. She thought she had enough time to cross over 13 Mile and was struck by a westbound car driven by a 43-year-old Sparta woman.

The at fault car was occupied by the 15-year-old driver, her 38-year-old father, and  her 8-year-old brother. Both drivers and the father had minor injuries. They were treated and released from local hospitals.

Algoma Fire and Rescue assisted at the scene.

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Firefighter promoted to lieutenant

L to R: Lt. Ben Robinson, Fire Chief Jeff Drake.

Solon Fire Department recently promoted Ben Robinson to the position of Lieutenant on February 11 at the Solon Township Board, meeting effective immediately.

Ben moved to Solon Township five years ago with his wife, Elizabeth, due to a job relocation with Gill Industries, where he is employed full time as a welding engineer.  Ben and his wife enjoy spending time with their horses for leisure. Ben has seven years of fire service experience including Jerusalem Township, Ohio and Courtland Township, Michigan, prior to Solon Fire Department.

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Cheer earns top spots

Cedar Springs Varsity Cheer team had another strong showing last weekend at the Delta Plex invitational. Courtesy photo

Will compete in districts February 21

The 2020 Cedar Springs High School Competitive Cheer program celebrated another successful week by earning top spots against some of the best programs in the state of Michigan at the Deltaplex Invitational on February 15. 

“This was by far the biggest competition we have attended this season, in the biggest venue, the very venue that state finals will be held in three weeks from now, which can be very intimidating,” remarked Varsity Head Coach Anne Olszewski. “We saw some teams that we have yet to face this season and will compete against them in Districts and Regionals. The girls handled it all with grace and enthusiasm. Round 1 put us in 2nd place overall (232.9). We had some serious miscues in round two, which dropped us down in the standings (223.9-4th overall). We knew we needed a clean round 3, which I believe they delivered their best round 3 to date (316.3)! 

“I have an incredibly strong senior and junior class. They are awesome leaders. It makes all the difference to the underclassmen to have strong leaders who believe in them and lead the way. At this point, we only have one more guaranteed competition with districts. After that, we must earn our spot to advance. These girls are tenacious and determined. The sky is the limit and I know we can take it all the way back to the Deltaplex!” she said with excitement.

The Red Hawk JV Cheer team finished the season as OK White Champions.

Coach Katy Hradsky is very proud of the girls on her JV cheer team. “In true form, this 2020 CSHS JV team pulled it all together last minute when other teams would have fallen apart. We made last minute changes to both Round 2 and Round 3 to sub in a sick teammate. The girls fought hard to keep it together for their last competition. Our only goals were to finish, no matter what and try to beat the other D2 JV team at the Delta Plex. The girls did just that! With a 7.9-point lead after round 3 (344.6 combined round three score). I couldn’t be prouder of this team. We have reworked and rewrote our rounds to accommodate injuries and illness more times than I can keep track. It was a great way to end our 2020 season. The JV team finished the 2020 season as OK White Conference Champions in the JV division and earning 6 first-place finishes, 1 second place finish, and 3 competitions we didn’t place in due to injuries obtained at the competition.”

The Varsity team will compete in District 11 finals at St John’s High School on February 21st at 6 p.m. Good luck Lady Red Hawks! 

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CTA Senior Night

Senior athletes and their parents were recognized on Senior Night at the February 13 basketball game at Grace Christian University. Honored seniors were (L to R): Hannah Hofstra, Faith Watson, Luke Hubbard, and Gabriela Fahling.

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The Fifth Annual CTA Spelling Bee 2020

Raelynn Dells and Jaxson Morey with Mrs. Bangma

In January, seventeen students in grades third through eighth competed in the fifth annual CTA School Spelling Bee! For several weeks prior to the Bee, participants practiced, practiced, and practiced lists of spelling words in preparation for the School Bee. These same participants also attended the weekly CTA Chargers Spelling Club hosted by the 6-12 Academic Specialist, Mrs. Jenny Bangma; it was here that participants gained strategies for spelling words, remembering letter patterns, and the etiquette for participating in the actual Bee. Lots of hard work was put in by our Charger Spellers over the last few months in preparation for this event!

The CTA School Spelling Bee lasted over ten rounds, resulting in a Champion and a Runner-up. The CTA School Spelling Bee Champion is third grade student, Jaxon Morey; the Runner-up is fourth grade student, Raelynn Dells. The winners will head to the Regional Spelling Bee competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Tuesday, Feb. 25. Our entire school community is so proud and excited for our Chargers!

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Aiden’s Place


If you are looking for a night out with the family, you might want to try Aiden’s Place, at 42 E. Lake Street in Sand Lake. 

The family eatery was opened by Aiden Kleck and family members John and Connalee Kleck in 2019. “We have remodeled and refreshed what is commonly referred to as the old Sand Bar into a warm and welcoming place for people and families of all ages,” they said.

Aiden’s Place serves flatbread pizzas, subs, starters, salads and desserts. They serve individual style pizzas with a wide range of toppings and sauces so everyone can get one just how they like it. They even have gluten-free pizza. They also have a full bar.

For entertainment, there is a game room with retro arcade-style video games that is free to use. They also have a large chessboard and other games, and adult coloring and pencils on the tables for fun. They have an open mic night, karaoke, gaming tournaments, and other events. There is also a large room people can use for events.

“It is a place where people of all ages can relax and spend time together,” they said.

In the future, they hope to be involved in more community events.

For more information, call them at (616) 419-6713 or stop in and visit. Hours are Sunday noon to midnight; Monday closed; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight.

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Top 10 winter bird foods

And the birds that love them

by Melissa Mayntz, Farmer’s Almanac

Reprinted by permission 

Male woodpecker at bird feeder.

Birds need extra fat and calories in winter to keep their body temperatures up and survive the bitter cold, yet the coldest winter days are exactly when it can be hardest for them to find food. Backyard birders can be a great help to birds when these rich foods are available at feeders. The foods that will be most appreciated in your yard will depend on which birds are common winter guests, but these 10 options are popular with many species that stay in our yards year-round.

Top 10 Winter Bird Foods

Suet. Whether you offer this rich, fat-filled option in cakes, balls, shreds, nuggets, or chunks, suet will always be popular. It can be offered plain or mixed with other foods such as seed, insects, nuts, or fruit, and every variety will be enjoyed by winter birds, especially woodpeckers, nuthatches, wrens, chickadees, jays, cardinals, and nutcrackers.

Bark Butter. A softer, spreadable form of suet, bark butter can be smeared directly on a tree for an instant feeding station. This is a great option to offer birds that hitch along tree trunks, such as woodpeckers, nuthatches, and creepers, and other clinging birds like chickadees will also visit for a quick bite.

Hulled Sunflower Seed. Shelled sunflower hearts and chips are ideal for all winter birds. Not only is sunflower seed high in fat and calories, but without shells, it is easier for birds to eat, and there won’t be messy hulls underneath feeders. Wrens, finches, siskins, cardinals, nuthatches, jays, and plenty of other winter visitors will enjoy this seed.

Black Oil Sunflower Seed. The go-to staple of bird feeding, there’s never a bad time to offer black oil sunflower seed. While birds will have to work to open each seed and those hulls can build up under feeders, the hulls will also protect seeds from snow and ice so they don’t clump together or spoil as quickly. All sorts of birds will gorge on this seed, including cardinals, chickadees, titmice, finches, wrens, jays, and more.

Peanuts. Larger birds or those with more industrious attitudes will appreciate high-calorie, fat-rich peanuts at winter feeders. Whole, in-shell nuts are a great option for jays, nutcrackers, and woodpeckers, while smaller birds such as titmice, chickadees, and wrens are more likely to feast on shelled nuts and nut hearts.

Nyjer. Also called “thistle” seed, Nyjer is a tiny, oil-rich seed. Because of its small size, it’s best to offer Nyjer in mesh or sock feeders so it doesn’t blow away on a windy day. Pine siskins, goldfinches, redpolls, purple finches, and other small, clinging seed-eaters all prefer Nyjer.

Fruit. While many fruit-loving birds migrate south for the winter, some birds still appreciate the sweet treat of apple chunks, orange wedges, raisins, or fresh cranberries. Offer these foods in platforms or on festive strings and thrushes, jays, finches, and waxwings will all stop by for a visit.

Millet. High in carbs and calories, millet offers fast energy for hungry birds. Millet can be offered hulled or whole and may be used in feeders or sprinkled directly on the ground for juncos, sparrows, finches, wrens, doves, and quail to enjoy.

Cracked Corn. Though not the most nutritious food, cracked corn is a rich source of carbohydrates that can give birds good energy. It is also more affordable and is ideal to offer on the ground or in low feeders for birds with big appetites, such as quail, grouse, wild turkeys, doves, and ducks.

Mealworms. There aren’t many insects around in winter, and insect-eating birds will flock to your feeder when you offer either dried or live mealworms. Only offer mealworms as a small treat, but you’ll still see bluebirds, thrushes, wrens, chickadees, nuthatches, and titmice lining up for their share.

For the most feathered fun when snow flies, offer as many of these top winter foods as possible and you’ll have a diverse, active flock feasting at your feeders all winter long.

See this article online at https://www.farmersalmanac.com/winter-bird-33711.

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Arrest made in Pagel murder

Renee Pagel and her children. Photo from Justice for Renee Pagel Facebook page.

It’s taken more than a decade, but it looks like there may finally be justice for Renee Pagel. She was brutally murdered in August 2006, in her Courtland Township home, while recovering from donating a kidney to the father of one of her students. A news conference was held in the cold case on Thursday afternoon, February 6, that revealed that police have arrested her husband, Michael Pagel, and have charged him with her murder. 

Michael James Pagel

More than 13 years ago the Kent County Sheriffs’ Office responded to 9050 13 Mile Road NE in Courtland Township on a report of a deceased person. On August 5, 2006 first responders located Renee Beth Pagel deceased with obvious trauma to her body. There were no signs of forced entry into the home and valuables in plain sight were left behind. The medical examiners office completed an autopsy and ruled the death a homicide.

Through the course of the investigation, detectives learned Renee Pagel was nearing the end of a contentious divorce with her estranged husband Michael Pagel.  Following Renee’s death, the initial investigation had run its course with no charges filed and was eventually classified as a cold case. The couple’s three children went to live with their father.

Through the years, the KCSO alongside the Kent County Prosecutor’s office continued to allocate resources to this case, which included a joint presentation of the Pagel investigation to a cold case review team in Lansing in the fall of 2018. The review team made up of Michigan prosecutors looked at the case file for the purpose of providing feedback on possible investigative leads that might help the investigation.

Recent interviews and investigations provided valuable evidence that resulted in the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office charging Michael James Pagel, 55, with the murder of his estranged wife in 2006. With the assistance of the Michigan State Police, Michael Pagel was taken into custody in the Bay City area and transported back to Kent County to face charges related to the murder of his wife.

Michael James Pagel was arraigned on Thursday, February 6, in 63rd District Court and charged with first degree premeditated murder. His bond was set at $2 million cash or surety. He is currently in custody at the Kent County Jail.

“Justice for Renee wouldn’t be possible without the countless prayers and unending advocacy by her friends and family,” it said in a news release from the Kent County Sheriff’s Office. “We would also like to commend the hard work and dedication of those who never gave up on this investigation and who are responsible for taking the case to this point. Those people include Lt. EJ Johnson, Lt. Jack Smith (Ret.), Sgt. Randy Kieft, Captain Mark Fletcher (Ret.), Detective Sgt. Bill Marks, Prosecutor Kellee Koncki, Prosecutor Dan Helmer Prosecutor Chris Becker, and many more.”

The Post will update this story as we receive more information.

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