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Tag Archive | "Cedar Springs Post"

Making a newspaper during Covid-19

By Lois Allen, Publisher

Life as we know it will be life as we knew it with a completely different normal. It is like living in a Sci-Fi movie. Our new normal is like nothing any of us has experienced in our lifetimes. The streets are nearly deserted, restaurants and businesses are dark and empty. Bars once filled with cheer and laughter are now silent and vacant. And people are hurting.

The Cedar Springs Post has a staff of six employees. Over half are over 50 and at least one has underlying health conditions. My mother is 89 and has congestive heart failure.

Last Thursday, at our weekly staff meeting, we had a come to Jesus moment. There was a lengthy discussion about what to do if we had to close to the public and work from home. I’d be lying if I said everyone was expecting it. It seemed like a worst case scenario that might happen in the future. I told my staff that it probably wouldn’t happen, but we had to have a plan of action—just in case.  And then, on Friday, the schools shut down. It was time for plan B, or C for Corona, or COVID-19.

The Post has been here in Cedar Springs for over 30 years. Beginning operation in 1988, at a time when papers were turning into shoppers, laying off their journalists and printing almost all advertising. Not having to pay reporters and editors, their money went into larger circulation at a cheaper cost taking many advertisers away from newspapers. Not a great time to start a newspaper. But it became clear that people in Cedar Springs loved their local hometown newspaper and enough advertisers stuck by us as we danced between the red and the black.

When the internet happened, it was another blow to newspapers as advertisers flocked to this new form of advertising. But we were fortunate, we cut corners, buckled down and amazingly still had enough local businesses that saw an advantage to advertising and supporting the local weekly newspaper. So we hung in there, thanks to them.

And then, there was something new. Something called Facebook. What can I say about Facebook? It was a great way to connect with friends and family. Businesses used it to connect with their customers too. But it had no filter and launched us into the disinformation era. What to believe?

And now, life has come to a virtual and screeching halt from sea to shining sea. Will the demise of our local news be from some unseen foe sweeping through our cities and towns? Will it be something so small it cannot be seen with the naked eye that dooms us?

If businesses can’t do business, why advertise?  How can they afford it? And without advertisers, we will lose our local newspaper. Not just here, but everywhere. It will be a domino effect that will change the lives of many. The local newspaper is like a magnifying glass highlighting the community it serves—its people, its growth, its history. But like any other small business, it must pay the bills.

Currently, our staff is working from home and our office is closed to the public. In this era of emails and internet, we can do it. Stories, news releases, photos, ad copy, obituaries can all be sent via the web. But without our advertisers, we are history.

If you call, we have one employee here to answer the phone, but our office is closed to the public.

Also, if you are refraining from public places where the Post will still be found, you have the option of paying a minimal amount to have it mailed directly to your home. We’re offering a three month subscription for just $15 or a 6 month subscription for $25. And, don’t forget, we always take donations through paypal on our web pages at www.cedarspringspost.com!

We’re prepared for the worst, but hope for the best. God bless our readers and our advertisers and stay well!

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Letters to Santa Claus

Hey kids, it’s time to write a letter to Santa! Photo courtesy of S. Read.

It’s that time of year again, when kids can’t wait to mail their letters to Santa!

To help parents out, the Cedar Springs Post will have a special North Pole drop box. Every year dozens of kids use our special box for express delivery to the North Pole, and we make sure Santa reads each and every one!

So, if you’d like to send a letter to Santa, and maybe get it printed in the newspaper, just drop off your letter, in the bright red box labeled “Santa Mail” outside our office at 36 E. Maple Street. It’s a fun memory for you and your child and a great photo opportunity!

Or, mail your letter to: Letters to Santa, c/o the Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

If you do take a photo of your child mailing a letter, you can post it to our facebook page or email it to news@cedarspringspost.com.

Posted in Home for the Holidays, NewsComments Off on Letters to Santa Claus

Happy 30th birthday to us

by Lois Allen

Thirty years. The Post has been here for 30 years! When I started the Post operations in 1988, I wasn’t sure we’d make it thirty days! But we have. Starting with a staff of three, my mother, Alice, myself, and shortly after, a salesperson. We struggled to produce and publish the small weekly paper.

I had worked for The Squire doing administrative work. No reporting. But after the Squire was sold in 1988, the new owner had no interest in owning the Post. The Post had been produced in Rockford at the Squire offices. It was then that I became a publisher. 

Operations began in the old Kent Theatre building. Not the theater part, which was then used for storage by the previous owners, but in an office area in the building. A small office with small rent. Almost too small for my mother and me to work together!

It was so long ago, that we didn’t even use computers. Oh, I had one. It was a Mac. The screen was about the size of a toaster. There was no software for layout or ad composition. Everything was cut and paste on a light table. Very labor intensive.

I wasn’t even sure what a newspaper did. I knew I had to cover accidents and fires, so I bought a $50 used camera and a police scanner. With my Mac, a copy machine, a waxer and my mother, I began to make a newspaper. Then I became a journalist. 

I lived in Rockford at the time and having grown up in Grand Rapids, I didn’t know a soul in Cedar Springs. I was alone and on my own. But the one thing I learned quickly was that the people here loved their little local newspaper. It kept me going when things seemed overwhelming. 

After two years of consistent publishing without missing a week, I went down to GR City Hall and applied to be a legal newspaper. Quite an accomplishment for three employees, although my mother wasn’t really an employee because we didn’t pay her.

As each issue hit the streets, I began to understand the value of a local newspaper and what it did for a community. I could see that it is definitely a public service, however not supported with tax payer money. All funding came from advertising dollars paid by the local businesses which is why I hired a salesperson. 

We were always grateful to have just enough advertisers who said “yes” to the local paper, giving us enough revenue to pay the bills and our meager paychecks. It was, and is, a labor of love. You don’t get rich and there were no benefits, no 401K, no health care and sometimes no paycheck. 

It’s difficult to place a value on what we [the newspaper] offer to a community. While other news publications covered several communities, we covered just the one. If it was important to the people of Cedar Springs, we covered it.

It was also near the time when shoppers began to “bloom” as journalists were laid off and news print with advertising minus the news was the new way to advertise. Then came the internet and then Face Book, and now tariffs that threaten all newspapers, big and small.

I don’t think anyone can truly understand what a miracle it is that the Post is still here with so much going against it. There were times when our bank balance was literally at zero. I would write a check to the printer and then go out and collect money from advertisers to cover it. At one point, we mortgaged our building to keep going. Another time, during a severe wind storm, the roof from our neighboring building blew off and landed on top of us, just like the wicked witch of the West! We lost power, but we got the paper out that week anyway.

There are 30 years of “behind the scenes” stories I could tell about running a weekly newspaper. I like to joke and say that I don’t run the paper, it runs me! We have never missed an issue, not one. Missing just one week would mean the paper would lose its legal status and no longer be able to print legal or public notices. No pressure!

Now, we have a staff of five. All working together like a well-oiled machine. I wouldn’t be lying if I said we’re all pretty tired, especially on Wednesdays when the paper is finished and “put to bed” for Thursday’s delivery. Everyone works hard especially our super duper editor, Judy Reed, who I think we all agree does an outstanding job of covering all the important stuff that CNN and other news agencies don’t. She’s our only reporter doing the work of three. 

There’s an old newspaper saying, and I mean really old, that goes, “A dog bite in [Cedar Springs] is bigger news than a war in Europe!” And that has proved true to this day. It also applies to coyote attacks as well, which we also covered in this week’s issue.

The story of the local newspaper can be summed up as a whole bunch of challenges and obstacles. This little paper has overcome them all! And it’s never, ever boring.

We continue to struggle and will always struggle like a print form of David & Goliath, as advertising dollars continue to leave newspapers to go to other, more exotic and “smart” ad venues. And yet, we still survive. Truly a miracle.

We especially appreciate and owe our survival to the businesses that continue to say, “Yes, we want to advertise in our local newspaper.” With so many other choices they are truly our heroes. They are vital to us. They invest in community by giving back more with their ad money, delivering an invaluable service to you, the people that call Cedar Springs home.

Will The Post make it another year, or another 30? I hope so, but we never know. I need to wrap this story up, as it’s Wednesday night and they’re waiting for this piece so the paper, and then we, as well, can go to bed.

Happy birthday Cedar Springs Post!

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Kindergarteners collect Toys for Tots

For the past few weeks, numerous Kindergarten classes at Cedar Trails did a “Games for Tots” drive and collected over 100 games, which were dropped off here at the Cedar Springs Post this week. The following classes participated: Mrs. Bellamy, Ms. Birdsong, Mrs. Burns, Mrs. Dault, Mrs. Debri, Mrs. Matthew, Mrs. Schipper, and Mrs. Wolfe. Way to go Cedar Trails Kindergartners!  

It’s not too late to drop off your toys! You can still drop them off here at the Post on Friday, December 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We are located at 36 E. Maple Street. Our boxes will be picked up sometime during the day on Monday, December 18. Please bag your toys if possible.


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The Post travels to Canada

Art Smith, Noah Smith and Brian Braun traveled to High Level, Alberta, Canada, for a seven-day moose hunt and took along the Cedar Springs Post to read in camp. The group of three hunters took home two large Canadian moose.

Thank you so much for taking  us with you!

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!

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We’re still here: what’s happening at Howard Christensen Nature Center

You will see all kinds of wildlife and plant life at Howard Christensen Nature Center. Courtesy photo.

By Kim Gillow

While riding on our float in several parades, I overheard members of the crowd saying, “I thought they closed.” “I remember going there as a kid.” “My sister got married there.” Well, we are still here. Kids still come with their schools and people still get married here. The Cedar Springs Post has been kind enough to list our events in “Hometown Happenings” but that is just part of our story. We are in the midst of a massive renovation and upgrade. Our biggest project is the building of dioramas inside the Interpretive Center to mimic the various ecosystems on the land. We are also planning to restore the planetarium and create an interactive, hands-on area in the former library space. This is all being done through volunteer time, money and energy. As a nonprofit, with no outside funding, we are totally dependent on revenue from our events and donations. We rent the property from KISD but we are responsible for the upkeep and repairs.

Howard Christensen Nature holds many types of events for all ages. Courtesy photo.

Our mission remains the same: To inspire appreciation and respect for the natural world, to increase awareness of environmental concerns and encourage individual’s to maintain earth’s ecology through scientific and educational activities. We have had to institute an admission fee to help with expenses. It is $3 per person for anyone 16 or older. This has led to some disgruntled comments but we do have to keep the lights on. And we want to be able to keep the cost of school trips and other events at a level that isn’t prohibitive.

We are busy staining our tables and benches at the center and are setting up a picnic area near the playground. Volunteers are repairing the boardwalks that have been damaged by weather and vandals. We have a new shed to house our snowshoes and cross country skis, courtesy of  Daniel Mills’ Eagle Scout Project. Fairy doors are appearing along the trails. We dream of paddle boats on the pond and a challenge course.  Plans are in the works for our fall events: Red Pine 5k Run, Fairy Festival, scarecrow and gourd craft day, pumpkin carving and spooky walk, haunted house, pie making, and  wreath making/make and take to name a few. For more information, call (616) 675-3158 or register on our web site: www.howardchristensen.org.

Planning an event? Rent Camp Lily’s, a private retreat center on the north end of the property. There is a large building with meeting space, full kitchen and rest rooms plus a pavilion and camping areas with picnic tables and fire pits. It is the perfect place for a family reunion, graduation party, wedding or corporate retreat. We continue to improve the venue and hope to have an indoor shower by next spring.

Next big thing! We are cleaning out the barn and other nooks and crannies. Mark and Ann Petersen are offering their services for a benefit auction on Sunday, August 27, starting at 3 p.m. The public is welcome to come any time after 1:30 p.m. to get your bid number and preview our wide variety of items that are ready for a new home. And it is a variety: electric clothes dryer, display cases, waders, filing cabinets, fencing, etc. Watch for a complete list on our web site and sale bills around town when we get closer. There will also be raffles of a child’s quilt and baskets of goodies, a bake sale, and hot dogs, popcorn and drinks for sale.

How can you help? Come and see us, become a member, attend an event, volunteer for an individual project or join us to help with an event, rent Camp Lily’s, make a tax deductible donation, wave at us in a parade, let people know—we’re still here!

Posted in Featured, News, OutdoorsComments (1)

Response to “Reader disappointed in story choice”

Post Scripts Notice: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to Post Scripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

I too was at the last board of education meeting. I admire your dedication to family in supporting the position of a relative on the board, however there are a few statements you made that I don’t believe are accurate. One only needs to look through recent issues of the Post to see several articles about our students’ accomplishments. One article in the last 7 months bringing awareness to our community that our teachers are STILL working under fear and intimidation does not constitute a pattern. I would also argue that the ‘slanted viewpoint from the vocal minority’ is not accurate. The board meeting I attended was standing room only, and ended with a standing ovation from an overwhelming majority when Trustee Sabinas filed a formal complaint against Dr. VanDuyn. The Cedar Springs Post has a responsibility to this community to report ALL news, even if it’s something you don’t want to see. I don’t want to see our teachers publicly beg for help from the board of education month after month for over two years, yet here we are and it is STILL happening. So while we ALL would like to see news full of sunshine and rainbows, it’s difficult to admire the drapes when the house is on fire.

Tami Elliston, Cedar Springs

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The Post travels to Montana


Art Smith brought along his Cedar Springs Post while on an elk hunt in Montana with his brother Steve Smith and other family members. Art rode 8 miles on a mule to a tent camp, and hunted in the Lewis & Clark National Forest in the Bob Marshal Wilderness. He said that one elk and two deer were taken in the camp.

Thanks, so much, Art, for taking us with you!

This year the Post has traveled all over the world with our readers, visiting locations with our readers such as various cities in Arizona; the Adirondack Mountains; Atlanta, Georgia; Bay City, Mich.; Boston, Mass.; California; China; Colorado; Florida; Hoover Dam; Makcinac Island; Montana; New York City; Pictured Rocks; the Ryder Cup; South Dakota; Washington D.C.; West Virginia; Wyoming; Colombia; the Caribbean, Panama; Germany; Italy; France; Greece; Turkey; Haiti; Japan; Iceland; Nepal; Scotland; and Sweden.

Where will we go next year? It’s up to you!

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!


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Wife upset Post reported husband arrested

POST SCRIPTS NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.



I am writing regarding the defamatory article that was published on September 15, 2016, about my esteemed husband of 20 years Richard Webb. I stand in support of my husband’s character and our business regardless of the charges mentioned. Since we were not given an opportunity to comment I will list some details that were not reported:

When my husband was a young man he voluntarily assisted The Cedar Springs Post specifically, Lois Allen and her mother, when they had computer issues. In addition he also voluntarily assisted with preparing the papers for delivery.

Zylatech has supported the City of Cedar Springs for 12 years. In recognition of our home town we waived our standard travel charge for them. We have always gone above and beyond to make sure they were taken care of. When there were no technicians immediately available I myself went onsite and installed memory in a PC for a previous City Manager so he could get back to work.

The current City Manager, Mike Womack, has only been with the City for a very short time and has never met Rich. I do not consider his comments to be an accurate representation of our company.

My husband and I have run our business with integrity for 16 years. Our goal has always been “To honor God while providing a timely response and quality service.” That is what we do and will continue to do.

I am disheartened by the fact that our own hometown newspaper has treated us and our local small business with such disrespect. Rich and his family have been members of this community most, if not all, of their lives. I personally have lived in Cedar Springs for 19 years and am proud to have our 12-year-old son, Ian, attending Cedar Springs Middle School. It’s unfortunate that no one at The Cedar Springs Post took in account the damage that this article would do to our son, family, friends, church, employees, and livelihood.

In closing I would like to remind the Post and it’s readers that one of the most sacred principles in the American criminal justice system is that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. I also want The Cedar Springs Post and it’s readers to understand that God is with us no matter what the situation or trial we face in life. I recommend everyone watch and see what our Almighty God is going to do!

Sherrie E. Webb

Director of Operations, Zylatech, LLC

Posted in Post ScriptsComments (1)

Candidate forum for City Council


Please note location change

Tuesday, October 28, 6:30 p.m. in the Cedar Springs Hilltop Boardroom, 204 E. Muskegon

The November election is right around the corner, and there are seven people vying for four positions on the Cedar Springs City Council. There will be a candidate forum open to the public on Tuesday, October 28, at 6:30 p.m. in the Hilltop 3rd floor Boardroom, at Cedar Springs Public Schools. The forum will be hosted by the Community Action Network and the Cedar Springs Post.

The candidates will be asked several questions, and the public will also have a chance to ask some questions through the moderator. There will also be time to talk one on one with the candidates at the end.

Ken Benham, who served for 8 years, is not running again, so his position his open, along with incumbent Mark Fankhauser’s, who is running again. Fankhauser, former council member Pamela Conley, and DDA Chair Perry Hopkins, are all competing for those two seats. As part of the recall side of the election, incumbent Ashley Bremmer is running against Molly Nixon, and incumbent Patricia Troost is running against Rose Powell.

Check out next week’s paper for more election info.

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Spring takes area by storm


The Cedar Springs Post took a direct hit when winds blown in by a fierce spring-turned-winter storm ripped through our area last Saturday.

Owner and Publisher Lois Allen received several calls at her home about it. “The Post is under attack!” said one caller. And indeed, the Post was in the path of destruction as the high winds lifted the roof of Len Allington’s brick building on the corner of Main and Maple Streets and sent it airborne across the alley between the buildings. It landed on top of the Post, wrapped around a utility pole and entangled in electrical wires.

Consumer’s Energy cut the wires on Sunday and left the scene, leaving three businesses and several apartments without power until Tuesday afternoon.

“The more you depend on technology, the more helpless you become when it fails,” said Allen. “You can quote me on that.”

What many people thought was a tornado turned out to be straight line winds. The first storm rolled into our area at about 4:30 p.m. and was followed by several others throughout the night.  The National Weather Service said damage across West Michigan was consistent with winds gusting 75 to 85 mph, and lasted 3-5 minutes. The winds were equivalent to an EF-0 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

The winds blew in, and hail rained down, damaging cars, mobile homes, and other outside objects. The size ranged from a dime to a quarter. Some mobile homes were pelted with hundreds of holes. It covered the ground to a depth that looked like snow.

Trees were ripped out of the ground or broken all across the area—Sand Lake, Cedar Springs, Sparta, Kent City, and surrounding townships. The wind even blew the roof off of the gymnasium at Kent City.

In the aftermath of the storm, rivers and creeks were swollen and many areas are still under a flood watch.

Thanks to the many readers who sent us your storm photos!

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off on Spring takes area by storm

Police seek water tower vandals


By Judy Reed


A white water tower. A bucket of paint. An abandoned ladder. The cover of darkness. And someone who loves The Post. It was the perfect storm for a hit and run graffiti event in Cedar Springs last night.

Police are looking this morning for the person(s) who painted the logo of The Cedar Springs Post newspaper on the city’s water tower on Pine Street.

“I didn’t hear a thing,” said one neighbor. “I saw a forklift there yesterday evening, but thought they were just going to do some maintenance.”

People gawked as they drove by, causing a couple of minor traffic crashes. That’s when police discovered the vandalism.

“It’s actually pretty good,” said one officer. “I’ve never seen graffiti that looked so professional. I think we are looking for an expert.”

The graffiti also gave the city council an idea. “I think we should rent out the tower once a month to any interested business that wants to put their logo on it,” said one councilor. “It might help offset some of our budget problems.”

The councilor didn’t specify how much they might charge, but said it would be in the $2,499 range. “And they would have to paint it themselves, or we wouldn’t make any money,” he noted.

The Post editor caught up with Post publisher Lois Allen at a local hardware store, while she was trying to return some paint. “It just isn’t the right red,” she said, wiping her hand on a paint smock she was wearing. But she thought it was great that someone painted the Post logo on the water tower.  “I hope they don’t get caught,” she added.

If you have any info on who might have painted the water tower, please 616-APRIL-FOOLS.

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