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Archive | July, 2010

73rd District House seat candidates

Thomas Norton

Thomas Norton was the first Republican to register as a candidate for Michigan’s 73rd District North Kent County.
Thomas Norton is a family man and lives in Sand Lake. He married Jami Marckini, and they have two daughters Sienna and Caitlyn. His parents are Edward and Iva Norton of Courtland Township. His sister Jamie Norton lives in Sparta Township. Thomas Norton has lost two brothers Mike in 1986 and Robert in 2009 (Sparta Foundry).
Norton promises to bring sound constitutional judgment, experience in business and a promise to hold meetings in every township at least once a year to make sure he is representing the district as a whole. He promises not to personally attack his opponents, just their stand on the issues and past practices as to the issues. He promises not to campaign on Sundays.
Norton has a BA in Business Administration. He attended Baker College for his associate degree and AIU for his BA.
Thomas Norton says he is running because Michigan is broken and he sees very few people with the fire to fix it.
Norton said he has turned every store and department that he has managed back into the black by thinking out side the box and utilizing the materials at hand. He has managed several different grocery departments for Meijer at their request in order to turn them around, and was a Holiday store manager. He feels this business experience makes him capable of understanding the challenges of meeting department budgets and increased sales in order to create jobs. He says he will fight for the total eradication of business taxes in order to spur permanent economic growth.
Norton is a member of the Tea Party of West Michigan, Campaign for Liberty Caucus, NRA, Michigan Fair Tax, St Paul’s Lutheran Church, Michigan Army National Guard (DOD Exempt). He also has experience in Tactical operations and Command with the Army National Guard with an Infantry MOS.
Thomas Norton’s philosophy is Constitutional Conservatism. He is Pro-life and will fight to restrict abortion at the state level to the furthest ability and authority allowed by the federal government to the states. He supports the right of people to keep and bear arms and will fight to expand the education of the CCW and simplify the process of receiving one.
Tom supports the people’s right to practice their faith separated from government. This includes the right of students to display their faith in schools. Tom will fight for and propose legislation that will protect businesses and private schools making them immune to lawsuits when they display religious symbols in their established place of business or education.
Tom believes in the fair tax, which would tax what we spend rather than what we earn. The more you buy, the more you pay in taxes; the less you buy, the less you pay in taxes. Therefore, everyone pays fairly when they choose to spend. It would also make sure everyone pays their fair share of taxes by closing loopholes.
Tom also promises to fight and defend his belief in one vote, one bill legislation. This would require that a bill that is passed through the state legislature would be required to pertain to the original spirit of the bill. In other words, a road construction bill could not contain water or sewer clean up. This would cut out pork at the state level and require the legislature to be more responsible with the people’s money.
Tom is a full supporter of public schools, charter schools and private schools. He feels that all students are worth the same amount of money. Therefore, they should have the ability to go to public, charter or private schools and the money spent on their education goes to the schools, which they attend. This way all underprivileged children can afford a school of their choice.We should have full competition and support to educate our children.
You can email Tom at   tjn73rd@localnet.com or www.votingnorton.org
Thomas Norton for 73rd district state house on Facebook
Contributions’ can be mailed to:
Committee to Elect Thomas Norton

Finance Committee

11281 Myers Lake Ave NE

Rockford, MI 49341
All other issues to:
Committee to Elect Thomas Norton
250 East Main St
Sand Lake MI 49341

Nelson runs for District 73 representative

June 10, 2010

Tim Nelson, founding pastor of BridgeWay Community Church in Rockford, community leader and conservative Republican, is running for State House of Representatives, 73rd District.
“I will bring a fresh perspective and fiscal responsibility to Lansing to help better our schools, jobs and families,” Nelson pledged. “As a community leader, I have a strong history of trusted leadership that seeks to bring solutions to the big problems we face in life. Lansing needs leaders who will bring wisdom, common sense and integrity to the larger issues we face as a state. I want to bring that same influence to Lansing to help our schools, jobs and families.”
Standing on a platform of conservative values, Nelson concluded, “I am not someone who has been padding my resume for a run for public office. I am a father of four, a concerned American citizen, and a trusted leader in our community. There is a new day dawning in American public life where people are tired of the politics as usual. They want authentic leaders who have made a difference in the lives of the people they represent. This is exactly who I am. I am not a political insider. I am a man you can trust.”
“As the founding pastor of BridgeWay Community Church, our goal was to make a generational difference in the lives of people,” added Nelson. “For the eight years I served the church, we drew people from Cedar Springs, Sparta, Kent City, Rockford and nearly every township our district covers. I understand the people of this region, their hopes and fears and the dreams they have for their children. I have been putting people first my whole career and I pledge to represent you well in Lansing.”
Nelson went on to say, “I will be running on a platform of job creation, economic vitality and reforming the school funding structure that leaves our students funding at the bottom of all students in Michigan. Our students receive $7,316 per student, which is the lowest of all the districts in Michigan. When there are districts receiving more than $12,000 per student in more wealthy districts on the east side of our state, there is a real problem of funding inequality. When my neighbors are losing their jobs, and the people in Michigan face the highest unemployment rate in the country [14.1%], it is time to act. I have four school-aged children and I want to make sure they have a strong, equitably funded education that will lead to good-paying jobs.”
“Too many people are leaving our great state,” he added, “and I want to work toward a compelling Michigan that can prevail in uncertain times. We can only accomplish this together. Government needs to get back to being by the people as well as for the people. With your support and our hard work, we can make northern Kent County an even better place to live, work and raise our families.”
Dr. Michael Shibler, Rockford Public Schools Superintendent, supports Nelson’s plan for fixing the school-funding imbalance. Also supporting Nelson is Alan Moore, Greenridge Real Estate agent; Chris Carlson, financial advisor, Edward Jones Investments; Eldon Sanders, senior pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan Church; and Ron Aulbach, senior pastor of BridgeWay Community Church.
According to Pastor Aulbach, “I have worked side by side with Tim for six years and seen first hand his desire to make a difference in the lives of people. This community is already better because of the investment he and his family have made through the local church, and will continue because of their heart to serve others. I support Tim and know him personally as a man of genuine integrity, diligent in work ethic, and motivated to tackle the issues and problems others shy away from.”
Carlson said, “As a business professional who has known Tim for years, I am fully confident that he will work hard for the people of this community and beyond. I support Tim Nelson as a candidate for House of Representatives. His conservative values and efforts to equalize funding across the state’s school districts would benefit everyone in our area.”
“I have known Tim both professionally and personally for the past 10 years,” said Sanders. “I have found him to be a gifted leader, a powerful communicator and catalyst for change. He uses his many gifts to help all people know they matter and can make a difference. He is the kind of leader and brings the kind of leadership our community needs.”
He will be holding a “Revitalize Michigan Contest” on his website to solicit people’s best ideas to bring new life to our state and region. Any idea is welcome and each week Nelson will post the winning idea. This will be a campaign for the people and by the people. Find out more from his website at www.nelson4house.com.

Steve Jazwiec

Steve J. Jazwiec has three reasons he is running for the State House of Representatives in the August 3 Republican Primary to represent the citizens, business owners and school districts of the 73rd District: his three granddaughters.

Jazwiec, currently the City of Rockford Mayor Pro Tem, has announced that he is running for term-limited Tom Pearce’s 73rd District House of Representatives seat. He realizes that our children and grandchildren are the future of our state and that the citizens of the 73rd District have a huge decision to make this election year. His proven record of being a community and educational leader, along with being an excellent problem-solver and level-headed thinker that listens to both sides, has led to an enormous amount of encouragement and support.
Jazwiec said that his platform is based on three important issues facing our state today: the economy, jobs, and fixing our structural deficit. “We need to create a climate that helps our small- and medium-sized businesses succeed in the state so they in return can hire more workers. At the same time we must fix our broken tax system so we can stabilize our funding for schools and local government,” commented Jazwiec.
Elected to Rockford’s City Council in 2001, Jazwiec served as mayor from 2003 to 2006, and is the current Mayor Pro Tem. He initially got involved with the city through his appointment to the Rockford Area Arts Commission, in which he helped start and co-chair Rockford’s Celtic Fest and later planned and implemented the successful Huntington Rogue River Blues Series. Jazwiec is a graduate and proud football alumnus of Grand Valley State University, where he received his M.Ed. in administration and B.S. in education. He has been teaching since 1977.
Our school districts are facing the same crisis as our local governments when it comes to state funding, and Jazwiec has experienced that first hand also. Jazwiec stated, “Our schools need equitable, adequate and stable funding for the future of our state, our children. We also need to stop legislating unfunded mandates and can’t wait any longer to address our structural deficit problems that have been offset by federal stimulus money the last two years.”
Community leaders have pledged support for Jazwiec’s candidacy. Superintendent of Rockford Public Schools Dr. Michael Shibler stated, “ I support Steve’s position that schools need equitable, adequate and stable funding, and that we need to fix our current structural deficit problem. He is an educational and community leader that is a strong supporter of public education. We need leaders in Lansing who understand the crisis facing education and are willing to take the decisive action needed to insure our children’s future.”
Steven R. Servaas, 63rd District Court Judge, said, “I have known Steve Jazwiec for a number of years. He is a level-headed, conservative thinker and excellent problem-solver, who is concerned about community and state matters. He is exactly the kind of person we need in the legislature.”
During his announcement, Jazwiec shared, “This election is historical. It is only the second time since World War II ended, that all four constitutional offices—Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State—will be open at the same time. It would be an honor to represent the voters of the 73rd, and take part in history, if they decide to send me to Lansing this pivotal election year. I pledge to work endlessly so that the voices of the 73rd District are heard.”
You can learn more about Steve J. Jazwiec and his campaign for the State House of Representatives by going to www.SteveJazwiec.com.

Peter MacGregor

Peter MacGregor, a lifelong Michigan resident, along with his wife, Christine and three children, Patrick, John and Matthew, has called Cannon Township home for 14 years. Throughout his life, Peter has believed in public service, feeling strongly that the lessons he has learned from his years as a small business owner can be applied to government. Serving as a Cannon Township Planning Commissioner, Trustee, and for the past 5 years as its Township Supervisor, Peter has dedicated himself to this principle. During his tenure in service to Cannon Township, Peter has been instrumental in the construction of a 4 mile non-motorized public trail, expansion of law enforcement protection, and most importantly, insuring that the Township implemented the sound fiscal judgment necessary to provide vital services to its residents. As Supervisor, Peter has watched over a Township budget during a time of great economic peril in the State of Michigan. During the past 5 years, local government has seen falling revenues while costs rise. Under his leadership, Cannon Township has continued to provide a high level of service to its citizens while maintaining a budget surplus.
Peter’s commitment to community goes beyond his work at Cannon Township. Besides volunteering to coach youth sports with his children, Peter has found the time to be an active member of the Rockford Lions, serving as the club’s President from 2007 to 2008. In 2007 Peter helped found the Volley for Mitchell Charity 4 on 4 volleyball tournament to raise funds for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research and continues to serve as one of its three co-directors.
As a former small business owner, Peter knows first-hand the challenges facing small businesses. As the owner of a local manufacturer’s representative company, selling and servicing industrial equipment, Peter applied common sense business practices that led to many years of sustained growth, eventually employing over a dozen employees.
The MacGregor Family
The personal side of Peter is grounded in his family. Married to his college sweetheart for 18 years, Peter met Christine while they were students at Michigan State University. Peter and Christine moved to West Michigan after graduation to start their family that has grown to include Patrick, John and Matthew. All three boys are students of Rockford Public Schools where Christine is employed as a paraprofessional in education. Peter and his family are avid sportsmen, enjoying golf, running, fishing, hiking, hunting and just watching their boys’ many sporting activities.
* I believe in traditional West Michigan family values.
* I believe in the sanctity of life and defending it at all costs.
* I believe in the US Constitution and that all laws should be based on the principles established in these founding documents.
* I believe in limited government with local direction.
* I believe in creating a competitive business environment that encourages economic growth and prosperity.
* I believe that the best answers to the challenges facing our state come from its citizens, not politicians in Lansing.
Professional:
# Graduate of the School of Business, Michigan State University in 1988 – BA, General Business Administration
# Graduate of the Michigan Political Leadership Program, 2004
# Small business manager and owner from 1991 to 2005
# Employed 11 West Michigan residents
# Recently employed as a territory manager for a national polymer flooring company serving the West Michigan Territory.
Community Involvement:
* Member of Rockford United Methodist Church
* Cannon Township Supervisor, 2004 to present
* Cannon Township Trustee, 2001 to 2004
* Cannon Township Planning Commissioner, 1997 to 2001
* Cascade Charter Township Planning Commissioner, 1992 to 1996
* Board member of North Kent Sewer Authority, Current
* Board Member of Kent County 911 Dispatch Authority, Current
* Chairman of the Kent County Supervisor’s Assoc, 2006 to 2008
* Kent County Citizen Police Academy Graduate, 2001
* President of the Rockford Lions Club, 2007 to 2008
* Member of Rockford Lions Club
* Co-Chair; Volley for Mitchell Charity Volleyball Tournament
* Youth sports coach for community baseball, football & basketball
Facebook Page
Stay up-to-date on happenings with the campaign, Peter MacGregor, and important issues. Peter MacGregor for State Representative, 73rd District on Facebook
Website: www.electpetermacgregor.com

Dennis Smith

“The past several years have been some of the toughest in our state’s history. People tell me they want fresh bold thinking and a return to the conservative principles of less government, less taxes, a stable economy, and jobs growth,” says Dennis Smith of Cannon Township, who has joined the race to become the 73rd District’s next state representative.
“I’ve been knocking on a lot of doors in the district in recent weeks,” says Smith, “and people have repeatedly lamented that neither Lansing nor Washington seems capable of fixing the problems.” Smith, a strong pro-life, pro-family, conservative, says his other core principles of smaller government, controlling spending, lower taxes and encouraging personal responsibility have resonated well with the voters in his district.
“I’ve been both an employee and a business owner,” says Smith, a 25-year Steelcase employee who was retired last year. During that same period, Smith was the founder and owner of a statewide service organization, Information Network for Christian Homes (INCH). As an outspoken advocate for parental choice in education, Smith believes parents are the best determiners of what educational method best suits their children. Smith supports public, charter, private and home education. Because of his firm belief in fiscal responsibility, INCH was operated for the entire 25 years within budget, at a profit, and without ever incurring any debt.
Of his business acumen, Steven Turows of West Michigan Accounting Services says, “I have been the accountant for Dennis Smith and INCH for over 20 years. During that period of time, I have found Dennis to be honest and ethical in his business dealings, and a great steward of his company’s financial affairs. In my opinion, Dennis Smith is exactly the type of representative this state needs to steer us into the future.”
“I believe it was my work as executive director of INCH,” says Smith, “that best prepared me for the position of state representative. Not only did I gain a strong knowledge of sound business principles, but I was also continuously involved with the legislature during those years working to pass or defeat many bills, and working closely with many legislators. To my knowledge, I am the only candidate for the 73rd District that has any working knowledge of the legislative process, and the experience needed to get things done right from the start.”
David Kallman, a Lansing attorney, said, “I have known Dennis for 27 years and had the pleasure of working with him on many legislative issues. He has demonstrated time and again his keen grasp of the policy issues involved and he has been successful in impacting legislation at every level. He will be an effective servant and can hit the ground running once he is elected. I know the people of the 73rd District will be well served by Dennis.”
Smith also believes the “servant/leader” style of leadership he developed as the executive director of INCH will enable him to be an effective servant and leader for the citizens of both the 73rd District and all of Michigan.
A 16-year resident of Cannon Township and a 17-year resident of Plainfield Township prior to that, Smith actually considered running for the position six years ago. “I basically had two jobs at that time,” he recalls. “I didn’t see how I could mount a credible campaign with so many other responsibilities on my plate. Now, with my business transferred to new leadership and my retirement from Steelcase, I can focus on serving in an even greater capacity. I am running because I believe the conservative principles of limited government, controlling spending, and reducing the tax burden works. In the ‘80s, that’s what led to unprecedented jobs growth and prosperity. You can’t tax your way to prosperity, and you can’t redistribute wealth to create prosperity.”
Smith says he will continue to knock on doors and attend as many events as he can in the district every day possible right up to the primary election on August 3.
“I believe the best way to get to know the people, problems and potential of the 73rd District is to meet and listen to as many people as I can. This is a campaign about trust. Who will people trust to represent their interests in reducing the size and scope of government, reducing their tax burden, and create an environment that will enable new and existing businesses to once again thrive, grow, hire new employees, and prosper in Michigan? I want to earn their trust,” Smith concludes.
You can learn more about Smith’s campaign on his website at www.dennis-smith.com.

Jeanine C. Herlacher

“Through my work as a Realtor in the community for the last decade, I have paid attention to what is on the minds of people in our community,” said Jeanine Herlacher, running for state representtive for Tom Pearce’s office. “They call me when their house is about to go into foreclosure. They call me when they have lost an income and need to sell on a short sale. They call me, crying with an emergency need for a place to live. You know, when my clients aren’t sleeping at night with worry, neither am I.”
Herlacher said that is why she is running for this office. “That is why I want to represent our 73rd district community in Lansing. As a local independent contractor Realtor and Associate Broker for the last decade, I’ve literally been on nearly every street in this huge district! I understand this community from the inside of people’s homes—where they live—and they expect me to be able to help. The way things are now, I know that running for this office is the right thing to do, because it’s the best way I can really help make things better for all of our neighbors, family, and friends.”
“I believe that Michigan can and will once again become an economic leader in our nation, rather than pursuing our current rating at the bottom of the 50 states.”
Herlacher pointed out that unemployment in our state continues to be about 14 percent, the worst in the nation. However, unemployment is the result of an economic illness that can be healed! She believes the following has contributed to the problems our stateis having:
* MBT (an excessive Michigan business tax) is killing business and therefore killing jobs. The surcharge has to go, and the tax on gross receipts needs to be cut by about half.
* Over-taxation and new fees on the average citizen consume local discretionary dollars that could be spent in local businesses, therefore costing jobs and keeping job providers away from our state.
* Government take-over of our lives costs jobs and hurts our economy. We need less intrusive legislation from Lansing and more emphasis on out-of-control spending and the crisis of our schools!
“As a Realtor and Associate Broker, I have a long history of business experience.  I also attained a Business degree with honors from Northwood University, a conservative, business, leadership, and entrepreneurial focused school. I know HOW to get our state on the right track to economic recovery!” Herlacher stated. recovery!” Herlacher stated.
Following are her thoughts on Michigan politics:
* We don’t need more attorneys or professional politicians in office (they love to make new laws).  We need citizens with a long-term track record in business to serve our state.
* We are one of only 4 states in the nation with full-time legislators similarly compensated.  Our economic situation rates at the bottom of the 50 states, while our legislators pay and benefits are the second highest in the nation.  We no longer need a full-time legislature!  Serve, then Go Home, and get a job.
* We need more Representatives who will start saying, “NO” to creating laws that diminish the liberty of our citizens and “YES” to legislation that encourages job providers, and improves schools.
* If the laws passed by the House and the Senate are OK for regular-old Americans, they should be the same for the elected law-makers who pass those laws.

A long-time Republican, (her first vote was cast for Reagan) Jeanine is currently the 35th President of the Kent County Gerald R Ford Republican Women’s Club.  Known as the “Ford Women”, the club’s primary function is political education.
She attended the 2008 National Republican Convention and participated as an Alternate Delegate for the Michigan Republican Party.
Jeanine currently serves on the Kent County GOP Executive committee and was asked to
co-chair the Events Committee.
Jeanine was the Event-Chair of the first Grand Rapids “Tea Party” which drew an estimated 3000 plus crowd of area citizens interested in having a voice about what is happening to our Liberty.
Currently, Jeanine is an Associate Broker with Midwest Properties of Michigan.  As a Realtor, she is an independent contractor.  She has been a residential Realtor for the past 10 years and says that she has probably been on about every road within the entire 73rd District, at some time.
Jeanine holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Northwood University. Jeanine has been accepted into the Master’s Degree program at GVSU for Adult Education.
Jeanine and Rick celebrated their 26th anniversary last fall. Their family resides in Colorado. Rick and Jeanine have called Rockford “home” since 1999. Jeanine tells that, unlike many who say they have been one place their whole lives and that implies that they understand the area better than others, she has lived MANY places and has chosen this place as home because she knows that this truly IS the best place to call “Home”!  Rick is the Engineering/Consultanting Manager of Dematic Corporation.

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City Councilor convicted of larceny

Raymond Huckleberry says he will not resign

By Judy Reed

Cedar Springs City Councilor Raymond Huckleberry was convicted Monday of larceny over $200 but less than $1,000. Judge Steven Servaas delivered the verdict about seven weeks after Huckleberry took his chances with a non-jury trial.

“I’m disappointed, I don’t agree with it,” noted Huckleberry, the former owner of Stein Brother’s pizza, who admitted selling some of the valuables stored on the second floor of the building of the business. Those items belonged to his landlord and long-time family friend, Doug Stein.

At issue in the trial was whether ownership of the goods reverted to Huckleberry because Stein had not removed them by the end of the 180 days set forth in the buy/sell agreement for the business. Stein told the court that he and Huckleberry had an oral agreement that he could store them there as long as he liked. Servaas felt that Huckleberry and Stein probably did have an oral agreement, and told him so at the trial on June 4.

Servaas sentenced him to one year probation, $450 in court costs, $150 in probation costs, and restitution to Stein, which has not yet been determined.

Huckleberry said he has no intention of resigning his city council seat, because this had nothing to do with city business. “I fully believe I’m in the right,” he said.

Detective E.J. Johnson disagrees. “I understand he was going to council meetings saying he was going to be vindicated. The judge felt he was lying through the trial and so did I, and I don’t feel he should be in a position of trust,” he said.

According to Mayor Charlie Watson, there is nothing in the charter that allows them to remove someone who has committed a misdemeanor. Only if a person commits a felony do they have means to do that. And even then, the mayor can only request it, and they can then go to the governor if the person refuses. He also said that he would not be commenting publicly because it is not city business.

Huckleberry said comments he has received from the public have been positive. “The comments that I’ve received in the grocery store and on the street have been supportive of me, and still relate to the comment I gave originally, which was that my reputation stands for itself. I’ve served this community since I was a little kid. They know me,” he noted.

Huckleberry said that he couldn’t comment on specifics of the case because he is still considering whether to appeal.

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Civil war in Sand Lake to be settled by vote

The shots rang out in the Village of Sand Lake, but they haven’t been from a gun. Instead, warring parties on the future of the town have fought the battle in the newspaper, on TV, at the village council meetings, on the street, and in the bar and restaurants.

On Tuesday, August 3, the battle will be over. That’s when the village residents will vote on whether the village should disincorporate, and become governed by Nelson Township.

The petition, introduced by village planning commissioners Brenda Ridgeway and Diane Comstock, has been a bone of contention among residents, with many wanting to keep the independence of the village, and others wanting to do whatever it takes to lower their taxes.

At issue is the 14.6261 mills the villagers pay for operational expenses. One mill generates $10,474, for a total of $152,600. The other taxes they pay—another 3.95 mills for road debt, Nelson Twp. taxes, library taxes, school and county taxes—would all stay the same if they disincorporate.

Services, however, would not.

Nelson Twp. Supervisor Glen Armstrong said that if they disincorporate, the township would need to start from scratch to negotiate any contracts the village held—if they decided to continue them. The fire department is one example. Sand Lake Fire and Rescue currently serves Sand Lake, part of Nelson Township, Ensley Township, and Pierson. He said that those townships are concerned about loss of the department, and he doesn’t know yet what they would do about that. Armstrong said that the only compensation they would get is Sand Lake’s piece of state revenue sharing to offset expenses. “And that’s not even enough to fund a fire department,” he said.

Also gone would be the police force—the police chief and several part time officers. Coverage would revert to the Kent County Sheriff Department. Currently they have only three officers that patrol north of 10 Mile. Armstrong said he met with them, and they would love for Nelson to buy another officer if disincorporation happened. That could result in a special assessment for Sand Lake citizens.

The roads would be taken over by Kent County, who would only plow the main roads. Toni Bush, one of the residents voting for disincorporation, said she thinks business owners could get together and have someone plow the alleys between businesses. “I haven’t confirmed it, but I can’t imagine that if they could save $1,000 they wouldn’t do it,” she said. However, other things the DPW does would disappear—care of the park, cemetery, etc.

Water and sewer could go to either Kent County or Nelson Township. Village trustee Dave Dewey said that if that if Kent County oversees it, rates would most likely go up. “They would probably create an enterprise fund to build up money for emergencies,” noted Dewey. “It’s expensive to borrow government money for 40 years.” He noted that they have one of the lowest rates around – about $53.00 per quarter. But he said they would go up after the lagoon work is finished, since the USDA rural development decided that their median income allowed them to pay a higher rate.

Sand Lake has had the highest foreclosure rate on property in Kent County, and some proponents for disincorporation have used that statistic to prove taxes are too high. “Blaming the village for foreclosure rates is like blaming the repossession of a car on the state sales tax being too high,” said Dewey.

He remarked that 18 mills looks huge. “But when you look at the total value it’s puny compared to the services we offer,” he explained. He said that about 4 dozen out of 185 homes have taxable values of $30,000 or less, and only two dozen have values of $50,000 or more. “Some only generate a few hundred dollars in tax revenue,” he said.

No other village in Michigan has ever voted to disincorporate, and this year there are two. The village of Emmett in St. Clair county has the same issue on the ballot. Caledonia tried it, but didn’t reach the 2/3 majority vote. Sparta researched the issue, and decided against it a few years ago. This means that there are a lot of unknowns on how to handle the issue.

Besides the fact that Nelson will not assume any of Sand Lake’s debt, there is only one other thing they know for sure will happen if the petition passes. “The lawyers will make out well,” said Armstrong.

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Library party a blast

A young reader enjoys an ice cream sandwich and bubbles at the Cedar Springs Public Library’s summer reading program celebration.

The Cedar Springs Public Library had their party to celebrate the end of their summer reading program, “Make a splash at your library—read” on Tuesday, July 24 in Morley Park.

Kids played games, got a chance to dunk someone in the dunk tank, jumped in the inflatables, got sprayed by the fire department, enjoyed popcorn and other snacks, and cooled off with some mini ice cream sandwiches.

It was a great way to end the reading program!

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Tornado siren in Spencer Township to be relocated

By Sarah Read

This 25 foot tower on private property on the corner of 18 Mile Road and Hemlock Street has secured Spencer Township’s emergency siren for eight years. After noise complaints, officials ruled the siren will be relocated a few houses down to the Fire Department, on the corner of 18 Mile Road and Meddler Avenue.

There is no doubt that residents of Spencer Township want to be warned if a tornado is approaching. The question is where the warning should come from. For the last eight years, the emergency siren has been located on a 25-foot tower on a residential property on the corner of 18 Mile Road and Hemlock Street. At least one landowner recently took issue with the location of the siren being on private property. “There was a complaint that it was too noisy,” explained Chris Lange, Spencer Township groundskeeper and fireman. “I’d rather know if something’s coming, so at least I can take cover.”

Lange’s property, a few houses east of the Fire Department on the southern edge of Lincoln Lake, is where the siren was placed back in 2002 after lying dormant and unused for 10 years. According to Lange, when the Harvard Fire Department split in 1992, the siren went to Spencer but stayed dormant in their barn until he took the initiative to get it up again.

In addition to emergencies, the siren also sounds the first Friday of every month at noon.  The issue of the siren’s location was discussed at last week’s monthly board meeting. “Why was it put up on private property to begin with?” board member Judy Geglio asked.

No one seemed to have the exact answer, but board member Albert Frandsen commented, “Where it’s at is about as centrally close to the middle of the township as you can get.”

Township officials passed a motion to move the emergency siren from the residential private property to the Spencer Fire Department, approximately .01 miles west at 12131 18 Mile Road on the corner of Meddler Avenue. They also discussed usage of a second dormant siren owned by the Fire Department if it is still in working order. The current tornado siren will still be in active use for safety reasons until the Fire Department relocates it.

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Gowen man killed in crash

A 49-year-old Gowen man was killed Friday evening when the car he was riding in crashed into a tree.

David Bills

According to the Ionia County Sheriff Department, Raymond Boyd, 29, of Belding, was driving his 1997 Chevrolet Camaro southbound on N. Whites Bridge Road, in Otisco Township, about 11:37 p.m., when the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree. Two men were ejected from the vehicle, while a third was pinned inside. Bystanders pulled the third man out before the vehicle caught on fire.

Passenger David Bills, 49, of Gowen, was pronounced dead at the scene. Both Boyd and his other passenger, Bryan Knapp, 30, of Greenville, were airlifted to Spectrum Butterworth with critical injuries. According to Lt. VanderMolen, alcohol and speed are both considered to be factors in the accident.

Assisting at the scene was the Belding Police Department, Belding Fire, Life EMS, Aero Med, Air Care, Ionia County Dispatch and the Ionia County Road Commission.

Bills is survived by his mother, Esther G. Bills, of Gowen; his brother Kurt (Pamela) Bills of Greenville; and several other family members.

Funeral mass was held Tuesday, July 27, at St. Charles Catholic Church in Greenville. Burial in Mt. Rest Cemetery in St. Johns.

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Sparta resident is state truck driving champion

Eight Drivers Continue on to National Competition

LANSING—Steve Elliston, of Sparta, was named the best professional truck driver in Michigan after winning the five axle competition and receiving the highest overall score in the eight competing categories at the 2010 Michigan Truck Driving Championships. The annual event is sponsored by Michigan Trucking Association.

Elliston, who drives for Wal-Mart Transportation, now qualifies to compete in the American Trucking Associations’ National Truck Driving Championships August 3-7, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio — also known as the “Super Bowl of Safety.” The winners from each of the seven other categories are also eligible to compete in the national championship.

Nearly 400 drivers from all 50 states will compete in Columbus for four days, challenging their driving skills, and knowledge of safety, equipment and the industry. From 18-wheeler five axle sleepers to tank trucks to twin trailers–they will drive a course that recreates situations truck drivers face daily. These maneuvers may include: an alley dock, a rear line stop, a side park, a scale stop, a right turn, a front line stop, and straight line driving through a diminishing clearance.

On Saturday night, August 7, one contestant will drive away as the 2010 National Grand Champion Truck Driver.

“The Truck Driving Championships represent the culmination of the industry’s dedication to safety,” said Michigan Trucking Association Executive Director Walter Heinritzi. “I congratulate all the contestants and I hope Michigan cheers for our drivers as they move on to Nationals in Columbus.” Michigan participants at Nationals for each category include: Ronald Looks, Con-way Freight, Le Roy, Mich. (Straight Truck) Skip Johnson, Wal-Mart Transportation, Lansing, Mich. (Three-Axle) Richard Bailey, FedEx Freight, Macomb, Mich. (Four-Axle) Steve Elliston, Wal-Mart Transportation, Sparta, Mich. (Five-Axle) James Fisher, FedEx Freight, Oak Park, Mich. (Five-Axle Sleeper) Ron Metternick, FedEx National, Lowell, Mich. (Tankers) Ray Barlow, Wal-Mart Transportation, Niles, Mich. (Flatbed) Charles ‘Chuck’ Foults, Con-way Freight, Eaton Rapids, Mich. (Twins) ATA’s Truck Driving Championships include top professional truck drivers from around the nation competing at state and regional levels to make it to the national competition Aug. 3-7 in Columbus, Ohio. The NTDC annually attracts over 2,000 cheering friends, family, colleagues and spectators. For more information, visit the 2010 National Truck Driving Championships website: www.truckline.com/Federation/Councils/slpmc/NTDC/Pages/Default.aspx The American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of other trucking groups, industry-related conferences, and its 50 affiliated state trucking associations, ATA represents more than 37,000 members covering every type of motor carrier in the United States.

The American Trucking Associations, including Michigan Trucking Association, leads the effort for safer highways, focusing on greater education, enforcement and enhancement of traffic safety laws for all drivers. ATA also supports slowing down traffic through a reinstatement of a national maximum speed limit of 65 mph for all vehicles and limiting truck speeds at the time of manufacture.

Sparta resident is state truck driving championEight Drivers Continue on to National Competition
LANSING—Steve Elliston, of Sparta, was named the best professional truck driver in Michigan after winning the five axle competition and receiving the highest overall score in the eight competing categories at the 2010 Michigan Truck Driving Championships. The annual event is sponsored by Michigan Trucking Association.Elliston, who drives for Wal-Mart Transportation, now qualifies to compete in the American Trucking Associations’ National Truck Driving Championships August 3-7, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio — also known as the “Super Bowl of Safety.” The winners from each of the seven other categories are also eligible to compete in the national championship.Nearly 400 drivers from all 50 states will compete in Columbus for four days, challenging their driving skills, and knowledge of safety, equipment and the industry. From 18-wheeler five axle sleepers to tank trucks to twin trailers–they will drive a course that recreates situations truck drivers face daily. These maneuvers may include: an alley dock, a rear line stop, a side park, a scale stop, a right turn, a front line stop, and straight line driving through a diminishing clearance.On Saturday night, August 7, one contestant will drive away as the 2010 National Grand Champion Truck Driver.“The Truck Driving Championships represent the culmination of the industry’s dedication to safety,” said Michigan Trucking Association Executive Director Walter Heinritzi. “I congratulate all the contestants and I hope Michigan cheers for our drivers as they move on to Nationals in Columbus.” Michigan participants at Nationals for each category include: Ronald Looks, Con-way Freight, Le Roy, Mich. (Straight Truck) Skip Johnson, Wal-Mart Transportation, Lansing, Mich. (Three-Axle) Richard Bailey, FedEx Freight, Macomb, Mich. (Four-Axle) Steve Elliston, Wal-Mart Transportation, Sparta, Mich. (Five-Axle) James Fisher, FedEx Freight, Oak Park, Mich. (Five-Axle Sleeper) Ron Metternick, FedEx National, Lowell, Mich. (Tankers) Ray Barlow, Wal-Mart Transportation, Niles, Mich. (Flatbed) Charles ‘Chuck’ Foults, Con-way Freight, Eaton Rapids, Mich. (Twins) ATA’s Truck Driving Championships include top professional truck drivers from around the nation competing at state and regional levels to make it to the national competition Aug. 3-7 in Columbus, Ohio. The NTDC annually attracts over 2,000 cheering friends, family, colleagues and spectators. For more information, visit the 2010 National Truck Driving Championships website: www.truckline.com/Federation/Councils/slpmc/NTDC/Pages/Default.aspx The American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of other trucking groups, industry-related conferences, and its 50 affiliated state trucking associations, ATA represents more than 37,000 members covering every type of motor carrier in the United States.The American Trucking Associations, including Michigan Trucking Association, leads the effort for safer highways, focusing on greater education, enforcement and enhancement of traffic safety laws for all drivers. ATA also supports slowing down traffic through a reinstatement of a national maximum speed limit of 65 mph for all vehicles and limiting truck speeds at the time of manufacture.

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Youth build for Habitat

By Tom Noreen
Eight youth and three adults from the Cedar Springs and East Nelson United Methodist Churches spent July 11-17 in Manistique, Michigan, in the UP, painting, trimming and hanging doors for a Habitat for Humanity house for the Menominee family—Jim, Jodie, and their children Amber, Amanda, and Ashley.

During the week, the team, Menominee family members, and the Reardon family (the youth worked on their house last year) primed and applied two coats of finish paint to the ceilings and walls. They also hung four interior doors, boxed in ten windows, stained a few hundred feet of baseboard and door molding, replaced the front door and installed most of the moldings.

It was exciting to watch the relationships develop between the family and the youth. It was even more fun to watch the Menominee children as they painted their rooms, hung the doors and put up molding.

Last year, Alicia Reardon asked us if she could work with us when we came back. When we arrived on Sunday afternoon, Alicia was waiting for us at the Habitat Volunteer Center!

On Wednesday night, the team traveled to Munising and shared supper with another crew from Hastings Presbyterian Church. This group has been building houses for years. They raise enough money and bring a crew that can frame up a house from the foundation in a week. When they leave, the house has windows, siding and shingles and is ready for the plumbing and electrical rough-ins.

After dinner, the groups were treated to a Pictured Rocks Boat Tour courtesy of the owner of the company. What started out as a rainy evening ended with a spectacular sunset bringing to life the myriad of colors of the Pictured Rocks and a beautiful rainbow.

The group worked hard and left with a sense of satisfaction that comes from helping others.

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Misspelled & funny signs

Last week we ran photos of a couple of road signs in the area with misspelled street signs. This week we have a couple more oddities.

Two different people—Nick Day and Nancy Johnson—told us about the sign at Richie and Indian Lakes. It appears the second “I” in Ritchie has gone on vacation. Thanks, Nancy, for the photo!

Belinda Sanderson noticed an odd thing while walking downtown last week. On several of the street signs, you can see where the red flannels should be hanging from the line, but someone has snatched them off! Or is there a plot to rid the town of its Red Flannels? A quick call to Cedar Springs Department of Public Works Manager Jerry Hall solved the mystery.

According to Hall, the Red Flannel symbol is a decal that was ordered specially to stick on the signs. “The red in decals fade faster than the rest of the sign,” explained Hall.  He said that at $3.50 each, with four signs on each pole, they can’t afford to replace the decals right now. But they do have some spare decals to put on a new sign if one needs to be put up.

Have you seen a misspelled or funny sign? Send it to us at postnews@charter.net.

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Candidates for Nelson treasurer

There are three candidates running for Nelson Township treasurer in the primary on August 3.

Katy Austin

Incumbent Katy Austin has lived in the township for most of her life. She grew up on Pine Lake, attended Cedar Springs Public Schools, and currently lives on Becker St. She is the proud mother of Olivia (age 7) and Alaina (age 4) and has been married to Shawn for 11 years.

“I am running for Treasurer because I truly enjoy being a public servant and working with people as a problem solver,” she told the Post. “I am the best candidate for the job because I have the most experience.”

Austin said she has been the Township Treasurer for the past year and has taken every educational opportunity in an effort to provide the residents with the best service possible. “I also have an extensive background in accounting,” she added.

Austin thinks the most pressing issue that Nelson Township is facing is how to grow as a community, and how they can encourage people to move there. “I am so excited for the opportunity to be elected by the residents!” she said.

Lisa Heydenburg

Lisa Heydenburg, the current Nelson Township deputy clerk, is also running for the treasurer position.  She has lived in Nelson Township for 17 years, and has been married to her husband, Al, for 22 years. They have 3 daughters. Twins Erin and Sarah, 17, are seniors at Algoma Christian, and Emily is almost 11 and a sixth grader at Algoma Christian.

Heydenburg said she wants to run for office because “It is the next logical step for me. It’s not just a job for me; I like working in and for my community.  Being elected as Treasurer would mean I can be even more involved in the future of the township.”

She says she is a good candidate for the job because she has worked at the township as Deputy Clerk for 5 years and has been the Secretary for the Planning Commission for over 3 years, and has attended many board meetings during this time. “I have knowledge of how the township office works and I am able to assist residents in most areas, from voter registration to building permits. I have also worked at every election for the past 16 years,” she added.

What does she think is the most pressing issue facing the township?  “Right now I think whether or not the Village of Sand Lake disincorporates because it will affect the whole township,” she said.

Katherine Gross, of Ivorystone Drive, is also running for Nelson Township Treasurer.

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