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Archive | July, 2020

State Trooper injured in car crash passes away

A Michigan State Police Trooper who was injured in a crash earlier this month has died. The Michigan State Police announced the death of Tpr. Caleb Starr, of the Lakeview Post, on Friday evening, July 31.

Tpr. Caleb Starr, of the Michigan State Police Post in Lakeview, passed away of injuries he suffered earlier this month when a drunk driver crossed the center line and crashed into his vehicle. Courtesy photo.

“It is with extreme sadness that the Michigan State Police (MSP) confirms the death of Tpr. Caleb Starr of the Lakeview Post, who was struck by a drunk driver while on-duty on July 10, 2020. Trooper Starr joined the MSP in September of 2018, as a member of the 135th Trooper Recruit School. Trooper Starr was 33 years old. He is survived by his wife, Rachael, who is a civilian member of the MSP, and their two young daughters,” they said.

“The Michigan State Police mourns the loss of not just a trooper, but a husband, father and dedicated public servant who had so much left to give in a life that was cut far too short,” said Col. Joe Gasper, director of the MSP.

The July 10th crash occurred shortly before 10 p.m. in Boston Township in Ionia County. Trooper Starr was westbound on Grand River Avenue in his patrol vehicle when a vehicle traveling east, driven by a 28- year woman from Utah, crossed the center line and hit his Dodge Charger head on. He was flown by medical helicopter to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, where he was being treated until he passed away earlier Friday evening. Charges are pending against the female driver, who is believed to still be hospitalized.

Tpr. Starr, originally from Mason, had been at the Lakeview Post a little over a year. He was a graduate of the 135th MSP recruit school in April of 2019, and was then assigned to the Lakeview Post.

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Post Covering Cedar Springs for 32 years

Happy 32nd Birthday to The POST

by Lois Allen

Pandemic or no pandemic, birthdays keep coming. The Post is closing in on 32 years of local coverage. Thirty-two! We here at The Post are not here at The Post. Normal disappeared just as our staff has left the building. No one knows the future. How many businesses will survive? How many will disappear. Will we make it another year? Another month?

The Post building, where all the magic happened before COVID-19.

I’ve been through many difficulties keeping a local newspaper going since I took over operations over three decades ago. There have been some really tough weeks. But, thanks to a great crew, we always manage to pull it all together into a very nice little weekly. There it is on the newsstands, every week, The Cedar Springs Post. But the toughest week will be the one when I have to tell my staff that they no longer have a job. Tough. Like many small and independent business owners, it is heartbreaking.

How do I fit all the stories; the highs, the lows of over 30 years into one story? We’ve covered tragedy and triumph; the people and the life and experience of a close and ever growing community. 

Fortunately, we have saved all those stories. Not in my barn (bad idea), not in my pickup truck, (although it is full of old editions) not on the internet, although currently we are on it for now, but in book form, bound into hardcover and donated to the Cedar Springs Historical Society. Thirty-some books to showcase and chronicle Cedar Springs for the past thirty-two years.

Newspapers have struggled since the dawn of the web. Once, they were the place where you could find out what’s going on in your town while at the same time reading what’s on sale at the local grocery store or which restaurant is having a dinner or lunch special. It was all there in print. No connection needed, no power source and no password or user name required. Newspapers were the backbone of our newly formed nation, the land of the free. And it was news you could trust.

But things change. Sometimes for the good and sometimes not so good. Advertisers have so many venues to choose from now. The internet, robo calling, social media, Facebook, direct mailing… and so on and so forth. While big corporations have the means and the money to advertise nationally and are using the internet to boost business, small independent businesses do not. But the local newspaper is affordable to anyone and good for local businesses. These “mom & pops” and independently owned shops, facilities and restaurants make our town unique. 

We appreciate the businesses that are still with us, keeping us going in these crazy times. But many of our advertisers are struggling to stay afloat as well. When we lose them, we all lose.

The paper is a partnership that brings their customers to them while providing a public service that is actually not paid for with your tax dollars. It’s an independent business reflecting the uniqueness of a community while offering a service that is so much more than just covering accidents and fires. How often do you attend a school board meeting? That’s o.k. If you don’t, Post editor Judy Reed is there. She’ll let you know what’s happening while you enjoy some free time. Do you think city council meetings are boring? That’s because for the most part they are. But sitting there in your place is that editor from the local newspaper, and she’s taking notes. When we get a “tip” from our readers or a rumor starts to spread, she knows exactly who to call, who to talk to and what the public has a right to know. You can trust what you read because unlike “social” media and the worldwide web, legitimate newspapers are subject to libel laws if they print misinformation. 

Did your child make the sports team or the honor roll? They can feel a sense of pride when they are featured in the newspaper. We also have a partnership with the schools to get you up to speed on what’s going on there.  Sadly, a hometown newspaper has now become a luxury that is literally irreplaceable. When you lose your local paper, you’ve thrown out the baby with the bathwater. 

Without it, who can we really trust? Where will we get our information? How do we know if it’s true?

I’m not saying that the internet and social media aren’t great for some things. But when it comes to news, then forget about it. How many stories can you believe in the newspaper? All of them.

For those of you who love your Post, and we know thousands of you do, we wanted to show you what the inside of a newspaper looks like. I took a picture of our office which many never see. I wanted to hold onto the memory, the moment in my camera and in my mind, just in case it disappears.

In this issue we are introducing the people behind the scenes and our office cat as well. (see below). We hope to stay in Cedar Springs covering what’s up, but nothing is guaranteed except for death and taxes after all. Mostly, we thank you for reading and loving our Cedar Springs Post.

The POST Family

Publisher: Lois Allen

Lois’s workspace, where she does payroll.

“I started the paper in 1989 when my father sold The Squire and was going to drop The Post. I took over operations with just my mother and one employee. I run the paper by doing the paperwork, paying bills and taxes (lots of taxes) cleaning, doing the payroll, feeding the cat, coming up with promotional ideas and making sure it runs like a well oiled machine. The trick is to hire good people. And good workers are sometimes hard to find. 

I never married and never had children. The Post has always been my “baby.” It needs constant attention. 

I grew up in Grand Rapids and graduated from East Grand Rapids High School in 1973. 

I held many jobs. From factory, to cleaning restrooms, nurse aid, long-haul truck driver, and even worked for FEMA. I even joined the army and traveled to Germany for my job as a cargo truck driver in an effort to obtain my GI bill. I went to Davenport College where I majored in retail management.

I never worked for a newspaper until I helped out at The Squire, doing their payroll. After The Squire sold, I came up here to keep The Post going. When I started the paper, I knew little about newspapers or reporting and knew almost no one in Cedar Springs. I did know they really liked this little paper, because they were always eager to tell me. So, I gave it a shot thinking it would never make it more than a few months. Now, it’s been over 30 years and I’ve come to know Cedar Springs as my home. I find that people here pull together unlike in Grand Rapids. It was always exciting to be the center of whatever was happening. There’s never been a dull week!”

Editor: Judy Reed

Judy’s Office

“I have been editor at the Post since 2006, but I have been part of the Post family since the mid- 1990s.

I began by submitting public release articles for the soccer and girl scout organizations my kids were part of, and then one day Lois called and asked if I’d like to freelance for them, and so I did.

I attended school in both the Kenowa Hills and Sparta school districts and graduated from Sparta in 1979. That’s where I met my husband, Steve, and have now been married for 41 years. We have three children, and three grandchildren, whom we spoil whenever we get the chance, which is often! 

I love the work I do at the Post. It can be hard sometimes to write about the tragedies that occur in people’s lives, or the violence going on, or to listen to the petty bickering. But it is also a wonderful thing to be able to tell the stories of the people in our own backyard, to highlight their accomplishments, hopes, and dreams, and to hear back how much they appreciate it. If we don’t tell their stories, who will?

And lastly, I love my boss, Lois, we’ve come a long way together and she’s taught me a lot. She’s a great boss to have. She trusts me to do my job and has allowed me to be flexible on when and where I do my job—whether in the office or at home”

Office Manager: Mary Randall

Mary’s workspace.

“You will find me at the front desk just inside the front door. I am usually the one who answers the phone, takes classifieds, handles the accounts receivables, subscriptions for the paper, and tries to find answers to questions that come up.

I am married to Dan Randall and have 2 children, Jennifer and Thomas, with 5 grandsons, Westley, Nicholas, Gabriel, Seth and Lucas.

I have worked at the Post since 1994 for 26 years. 

We have lived in the Cedar Springs area since 1987 when we moved north from the Wyoming, Michigan area. 

Dan and I both graduated from Rogers High School in Wyoming.

I am old enough to retire but don’t want to, this job is perfect for my needs.

I have enjoyed a relaxed atmosphere at the Post and how everyone gets along to make a great team.

I appreciate the fact that Lois is flexible and understanding.”

Paper Delivery: Dan Randall

“I deliver the Post to businesses and drop boxes from Cedar Springs to Howard City.

I retired from General Motors in Wyoming after working in the factory for 30 years.

I started out filling in for the regular deliverers and then delivered regularly after they retired.

I am the husband of Mary Randall, The Post’s office manager.

I graduated from Rogers High School in Wyoming.

I always enjoyed seeing people and being out and about.”

Advertising Consultant: Melissa Kleyn

Melissa’s empty workspace. She’s been working from home since the COVID-19 shutdown.

“I have been the lead sales/marketing person for 4 years, since July of 2016. 

I am originally from Grant, Michigan. I graduated from Grant High School in 2005. After my husband and I married in 2011 we bought our first home in  Cedar Springs. 

I have been married to my husband, Evan Klyen, for 9 years and we have two girls, Skyler, 8, and Ella, 4. We have a 13 year old Yorkie named Harley and 2 cats! Luna and Daisy.

I love building amazing friendships with business owners and people in our community.  I also love helping them get news about their business to the community as well. 

I love my boss, Lois, so so much!”

Graphic Design/Composition: Belinda Sanderson

Graphics Department, taken over by Lois. Belinda has taken her computer and needed materials to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, since March 16, 2020.

“I have been working at The Post since Dec. of 2004, over 15 years! I started out part-time as a graphic designer building ads, and eventually learned composition and have been the lead graphics/composition person since July of 2007.

My husband, Michael Sanderson Jr., and I were married July 9, 2005 and I helped raise his daughter, Autumn, from the time she was 6 years old, she is now 21. I consider her my daughter. I’m also a step-mother to his two older sons, Devin and Michael the 3rd. 

I grew up in Cedar Springs on 16 Mile Rd off of Pine Lake Rd, the Allen’s were one of our neighbors. I graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1991. I’ve furthered my education by taking some classes at ACT, and GRCC.

I like EVERYTHING about working at The Post! I love all my co-workers, I love what I do – designing ads and designing the layout of the paper. I love the flexible hours, I don’t have to get up early – lol. 

I love my boss Lois BUNCHES! She’s a friend as well as a boss. She helps me out when I’m in a jam and gives me good advice, although sometimes I don’t listen – lol. She’s forgiving and understands that I can have a temper, but my heart is in the right place.”

Advertising Consultant: Marybeth Ford

Marybeth works from home. The above is our extra workspace for sales, as you can see Waldo likes to chill in the chair and wait for customers to greet. He’s been sad and lonely since the pandemic started.

“I started working at The Post in 2007 as a part-time sales consultant.

I grew up in Grand Rapids and moved to Cedar Springs because I wanted to move to a small town to raise my two children, LeeAnne and Christopher, who both graduated from Cedar Springs High School. I now have eight grandchildren, ages 1 – 17.

I have been with my partner, Scott, for nine years and we have three cats that we love like children and they cost just as much.

I graduated from Northview High School and got an associates degree from Jordan Collage in business administration and attended GVSU for a couple years.

I like talking. That’s what makes me good at my job. I enjoy working at the paper because every week I get to see an end product that brings the community and businesses together. Also, where else can you open the newspaper and see your child or grandchild’s picture.

I love my boss, Lois. She’s my friend and she’s afraid to fire me.”

Our Mascot: Waldo

Waldo loves to jump up on the front counter and greet everyone.

“I showed up at The Cedar Springs Post about four years ago. Lois didn’t want me, but I convinced her to take me in. I needed a home. She got me fixed and my shots and was looking for a home for me. I had to convince her that I was already home! 

The best part of my job here is greeting the customers when they come in and make sure they know they are welcome here. And more than welcome to pet me! Sometimes I throw myself on their papers or I might try and climb in their purse. Some people love to pet me, some not so much. I try to convince them. I’m a good convincer.

Other than that, I mostly lie around. Sometimes I lick myself. I usually take a nap around 3 p.m. It’s a good life. I love the people of Cedar Springs and am missing them.”

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Boil water advisory in Sand Lake lifted

By Judy Reed

A boil water advisory was issued in Sand Lake earlier this week after the system lost pressure.

According to Village President Tracy Quinlan, on Saturday, July 25, the water distribution system was compromised due to a cracked valve, which caused a gasket leak.

“The Village did not lose pressure in the line until early Sunday morning (July 26, 2020), when the loop was isolated and depressurized as part of the repair process.  The leak was fixed in less 

than an hour,” she explained. 

She said that there were seven residences affected by the one-hour lapse in water supply. A boil water advisory was issued, and two testings completed and submitted to Prein and Newhof. The boil water advisory was lifted July 28 after the results came back.

“All precautions were exercised and our DPW Supervisor, Chad Armstrong, was commended by both the EGLE (aka DEQ) and the Operator in Charge of our water system for his performance during this crisis!  Thanks, Chad!” she said.

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Superintendent receives top marks in evaluation

Superintendent Scott Smith

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education recently rated Superintendent Scott Smith “highly effective” in his annual evaluation. That is the highest rating he can achieve.

When Scott Smith was hired two years ago to be the new Superintendent of Cedar Springs Public Schools, he had his work cut out for him. He walked into a district where the former superintendent had been asked to resign, and board members were being recalled. After a year, much had changed, and he was given a highly effective rating. He has continued to move forward and achieved that same ranking again this year.

Some comments from the board included that they appreciate his humbleness and sharing success with the whole administrative team; he shows attention to strategic plan and vision; appreciate the honesty about what areas he needs to improve in; that he is growing a team of CSPS rock stars; and they are seeing a theme of a good head coach for the CSPS team.

How does Smith feel about the board’s continued confidence in him? “The feedback provided by the Board of Education in the evaluation process affirms the direction in which we are moving as a District,” said Smith. “Regardless of how our team is doing in any given moment in time, there is always room to improve. We have a clear set of objectives ahead of us for the upcoming school year and we can’t wait to get started working with our students again. Ultimately, I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to lead the CSPS team.  Each day is a new opportunity to help our students, staff, and community exceed their potential.”

The Post asked Smith how much of a challenge had it been to bring about healing in the district, and what kind of progress does he think has been made?

“The work is easier when the mission is clear. The Board of Education, our staff, and our families have been crystal clear from day one. They want the absolute best for each one of our students,” he explained. “There was a period of time when a great deal of energy was spent on trying to bring about change. The work over the last two years has been about shifting the focus of that energy back onto serving our students. 

“Our progress is on track based on the consistent feedback from the Board of Education, staff, parents, and community members,” continued Smith. “The energy is now focused on doing everything we can to put conditions in place to help our students, staff, and families thrive in Cedar Springs.  As this continues to happen, it will change the face of this entire community for the better.”

What has Smith found the most rewarding about his time here?

“The most rewarding aspect of my job is seeing the smiles after the struggle of a job well done,” he said. “Our students, staff, and parents work hard to overcome some really big challenges. Being able to see the celebrations on the other side of an obstacle is one of the greatest gifts that come with being Cedar Springs’ superintendent.”

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Don’t forget to vote

Voters can vote safely from home or in person

Voters can safely cast their ballots in Michigan’s statewide primary election on Aug. 4 to determine candidates at the local, state and federal levels for the general election on Nov. 3.

The Aug. 4 primary election has a partisan section and voters should only vote in one party section. Voters must choose whether to vote for candidates in either the Democratic Primary or Republican Primary (or neither). If a voter crosses over and votes for candidates in both primary sections, none of those votes will count. Every voter can vote in the nonpartisan and proposal section of the primary ballot.

The Secretary of State encourages voters who already have a ballot at home to fill it out and sign the back of the envelope. Then, with the election a week away, voters should put it in the mail immediately or, to avoid possible U.S. Postal Service delays, deliver it to their local clerk’s secure ballot drop box if they have one, or to the clerk’s office if possible.

In-person voting will be available in every jurisdiction for voters who choose to do so and will be provided in accordance with social distancing and safety protocols to ensure the safety of voters and election workers. Wearing a mask is strongly encouraged.

Applying for an absent voter ballot

Voting from home is a right all Michigan voters have and is a safe way to vote and protect your health, and the process is secure.

To obtain an absent voter ballot, voters must submit a request to their local clerk in one of the following ways:

  • Voters with a Michigan driver’s license or ID may apply online for an absent voter ballot at Michigan.gov/Vote.
  • Voters may download and complete an absent voter ballot application at Michigan.gov/Vote, print it and sign it, OR write out a request for an absent voter ballot and sign it.
  • ° Signed applications/requests may be mailed to the clerk OR scanned or photographed and emailed to your clerk. Make sure the entire application, including your signature, is readable in the picture.
  • ° You can find your clerk’s contact information at Michigan.gov/Vote or by calling your city or township office.
  • Accessible absent voter ballot applications are available at Michigan.gov/Vote. Voters with qualifying disabilities may apply for an accessible electronic ballot that can be marked remotely, printed and returned to the clerk.
  • Requests to have an absent voter ballot mailed to you must be received by your clerk no later than 5 p.m. the Friday before the election (July 31). However, to avoid possible U.S. Postal Service delays as Election Day nears, voters are encouraged to request their absent voter ballot in person at their clerk’s office.

Voting and returning an absent voter ballot

Once your request is received by the local clerk, your signature on the request will be checked against your voter registration record before a ballot is issued. After receiving your absent voter ballot, you have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to complete the ballot and return it to the clerk’s office. Your ballot will not be counted unless your signature is on the outside of the return envelope and matches your signature on file.

If you’re already registered at your current address, you can request an absent voter ballot in person at your clerk’s office anytime up to 4 p.m. on the day prior to the election.

In-person voting available

Beginning 40 days prior to Election Day, voters have the option of voting early in their clerk’s office until 4 p.m. on the day before the election.

Polling places will be open in every jurisdiction on Election Day for voters who want to vote in person and will follow distancing, hygiene and safety protocols. Voters are encouraged to wear masks and maintain social distance while at the polls.

Each polling location will have at least one voting station adapted to allow a person to vote while seated. In addition, all voters, including voters with disabilities, have access to a Voter Assist Terminal in all polling places. The Voter Assist Terminal helps the voter mark a ballot. It will mark the ballot with the voter’s choices but does not tally the votes. Once the ballot is marked, it is counted in exactly the same fashion as all other ballots.

You can register to vote through Election Day

Citizens who are not yet registered to vote but who wish to do so in the Aug. 4 election may do so at the office of their local clerk up until 8 p.m. on Election Day. You can find your clerk’s information at Michigan.gov/Vote.

Proof of residency must be provided if registering within two weeks of an election. Acceptable documents include a driver’s license, state ID card, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government document. Documents must have name and current address. Digital copies are acceptable.

Be democracy’s MVP: Sign up to be an election worker today!

Election workers are the Most Valuable Players of our democracy, ensuring free and fair elections for all. And our democracy needs election workers more than ever for the upcoming elections in August and November. Serving as an election worker is a paid position, and all election workers are trained on proper protocols.

During the coronavirus crisis, election workers are needed to assist clerks and count ballots. They will adhere to strict public health guidelines, including exercising social distancing, using sanitary equipment, and maintaining strong hygiene to protect themselves and others from coronavirus transmission.

Interested voters can sign up at Michigan.gov/DemocracyMVP.

Elections are the foundation of our democracy, and the way that all Michiganders can hold their leaders accountable in times of uncertainty.

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Primary election August 4

By Judy Reed

There are a lot of candidates in this year’s primary elections, most of which you will see below. We have tried to profile most races in our area. We did not do a in depth profile of those who are uncontested.

Representative in Congress – Third District

There are several candidates running for the seat currently held by Justin Amash:

Lynn Afendoulis (R): Lynn Afendoulis is a successful businesswoman, a community leader, a first-time state representative, and a mom who has called West Michigan “home” all her life. She is running for Congress to protect the values that allowed her, a second-generation American, to pave her path in work and life, and to seek election to Congress. She currently represents Michigan’s 73rd District. Read more about her at lynnafendoulis.com.

Joe Farrington (R): I am Joe Farrington, I live in the tiny Village of Lyons, in Ionia County, with my wife and 2 year old son. Originally from the east side of Michigan, I was raised to know that anything I want out of life, I’ll have to earn. As a working class republican, I believe in the abolishment of unnecessary regulations, gratuitous taxation, and the preservation of the 2nd Amendment. We work long-hard hours with calloused hands, we beat our bodies to exhaustion, we hunt, fish, spend time with our families, and we enjoy a good burger and ice-cold beer. We deserve a lot more than an absentee congressman with a perfect record for looking out for his best interests. Read more about him at https://farrington4congress.com/

Peter Meijer (R): Peter Meijer, the grandson of the late supermarket magnate Fred Meijer, says he is a conservative veteran running for Congress to bring strong, stable, and effective representation to West Michigan. He deployed to Iraq in 2010, and after returning from in 2011 and finishing college, Peter became active once more in the veterans community, continuing to serve on the board of directors of Student Veterans of America and joining Team Rubicon, a veteran-based disaster response organization. With Team Rubicon, Peter led humanitarian efforts in South Sudan dealing with a refugee crisis, and also led operations in New York after Superstorm Sandy, Oklahoma after a series of devastating tornadoes, and in the Philippines after Super Typhoon Yolanda. You can read more about him and his stance on issues at https://www.votemeijer.com.

Thomas Norton (R): Tom Norton says he is an America-First, Conservative Veteran running for Congress as a republican in Michigan’s Third District. Tom believes in the American dream because he’s lived it. He learned to value hard work while growing up on his family’s farm and he used those values to go from infantry soldier to small business owner and top salesman for a national company. 

A veteran of the Afghan War, Tom returned home and was inspired to run for public office in the Village of Sand Lake. As a Village Trustee and then Village President, Tom secured funding for infrastructure improvements that built better roads and provided quality drinking water, while also balancing the budget. His time there was not without controversy, however. His own board asked him to resign a month before his term ended, which he refused to do.

Emily Rafi (R): Emily Rafi 40, was born and raised in Michigan’s 3rd district 2005, she earned a law degree J.D. from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, California. Her broad legal education and 12 years of experience practicing Federal Law prepared her with the background needed to comprehend and draft legislation on the Federal issues regularly legislated in Congress. She performed substantial work for banks in the Small Business Association (SBA) lending industry, and understands the challenges faced by small businesses trying to compete and succeed in U.S. global markets. Her support for President Trump and democratic principles is so strong that it compelled her to exit the Democratic Party mid-way through this election cycle and run instead as a candidate for the Republican Party. Read more about her at https://www.rafiforcongress.com/.

Hillary Scholten is running as a Democrat and is unopposed. Read about her at https://www.hillaryscholten.com/.

State representative 73rd District

There are three Republican candidates vying for the seat in the 73rd district currently held by Lynn Afendoulis.

John Inhuslen (R): I am a small business owner, proud husband and father of three children. I live in East Grand Rapids and have been a both a community and political leader in West Michigan. I am a graduate of Michigan State University and the Michigan State University School of Law. I love West Michigan and am proud to raise my family here. 

Politically, as Kent GOP Chairman, I played an integral role as a Michigan Finance Chair for the Trump Presidential campaign, as well as working with the Presidential Transition Team and Presidential Inaugural Committee.  In the 2018 cycle, I served as Co-Chair to John James’ Senate Campaign and have continued that role for the 2020 cycle. In the community I have served on leadership of multiple boards and foundations. 

If elected, I will fight for West Michigan values. Special interests have spent tens of thousands of dollars in this race to defeat me because I will represent the interests of 73rd District constituents – not Lansing’s. I will make sure our economy and schools open, I will support small business and get people back to work. I will. Ensure our students are receiving a world class education and protect life. For more info: johninhulsen.com.

Robert Regan (R): Robert ‘RJ’ Regan (52) presently lives in Grand Rapids Township. He moved to East Grand Rapids from Lansing in 2000. RJ is the VP of Business Development for Grey Cap Transportation LLC, a large truck logistics company.  He has four adult children, a son and three daughters, ages 26 to 20.

RJ is running for State Representative in the 73rd district. He is in his third attempt at taking the State Representative seat. With no political experience, Regan ran in 2014 and came in second place.  Many were shocked by this, as Regan ran on a small name with no political or inside connections. Robert Regan is running his campaign on constitutional conservative values. Regan believes in the sanctity of life, protecting constitutional rights (such as the first and second amendment), advocating for small businesses and making sure West Michigan is heard. To learn more visit www.Regan4Michigan.com

Bryan Posthumus (R): We sent an email but did not receive a response from Mr. Posthumus.

Bill Saxton is running uncontested as a Democrat.

State representative 74th District

Three Republican candidates are vying for the 74th District seat, including incumbent Mark Huizenga.

Mark Huizenga (R): I currently serve as the State Representative for Western Kent County. I grew up on a small farm in Walker, Michigan and I currently live in Walker with my wife Kris, who I have been married to for 24 years. We are the proud parents of 3 children, Elaina (23), Oliva (22), and Blake (18). I currently own and operate 2 small business and have deep experience in both the accounting field and the healthcare industry. I have also been involved in public service for the last 15 years. We are facing very difficult challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on our everyday lives. I am committed to working towards restoring both economic and social norms to pre-COVID19 status. While it is a fact that we will never be fully rid of COVID-19, lawmakers in Lansing must begin to the focus on the future of what living with the threat of COVID -19 look like. We have no choice but do everything we can to restart our economy and ensure Michigan families have access to employment as they seek to provide for their families. I will do everything I can to protect public health while working towards restarting Michigan and holding government accountable to the people it represents. For more info visit votehuizenga.com.

Brock Story (R):  I’m 22 and I live in Tyrone township in Kent City. I grew up in Newaygo by the Hardy Dam. I have lived in the 74th district for 4 years, I am a warehouse employee at Williams Distributing in GR attending online college at Baker for a bachelors in accounting. I have a wife and hopefully we will have a child soon. As representative my first goal would be to sponsor legislation which moves our state back to sound money that won’t be manipulated by the federal reserve. I would like to be a part of massive deregulation allowing the free market of ideas to thrive again in our state. The main thing I would like to accomplish though would be to bring liberty to the table and to shake up the legislature which has become complacent in the destruction of our state and our liberty. I have a political page on Facebook @brockstoryforstaterep.

Meagan Hintz (R): We sent an email but did not hear back from Ms. Hintz.

Kent County Sheriff

Two candidates are running for Kent County Sheriff.

Michelle LaJoye-Young (R): Michelle LaJoye-Young is the current Sheriff. She has served Kent County for over 30 years. She has worked for the Sheriff’s Office since 1989 in various roles within Corrections, Patrol, Communications, Support Services and as the Chief Deputy, Undersheriff, and now the Sheriff. Michelle has focused on developing a Strategic plan with an eye for ensuring peoples’ needs are being met where and when they have them.  A key component to this is a focus on community outreach, transparency and planning services around the changing needs of our community. She was recognized as one of Grand Rapids Business Journal’s 2020 Top 50 Influential Women in Business Leaders and Top 200 Business Leaders in West Michigan. She has been inducted to the Michigan State University Criminal Justice Wall of Fame and in 2018, she was recognized statewide as the Interoperability Person of the Year by the Michigan Governor for her communication involvement and innovation. LaJoye-Young is a compassionate, driven woman who strives to be a guardian to every person in our community.  She is blessed to be the mother of two wonderful young men and works to lead a balanced, purpose driven life.

What does she hope to accomplish if elected?:  “Soon after being appointed to Sheriff in 2018 my staff and I started a strategic planning process to guide our priorities over the next five years.  As a result of that process we have published this plan on my website in its entirety.  Our efforts will continued to be focused into four main priorities: public safety, community engagement, effective and efficient services, and resource sustainability.” She said that includes ensuring they have sufficient staff to meet the needs of the community, being transparent and available to the community, spending public dollars efficiently, and ensuring her staff’s emotional, mental, and physical safety. Read the details on her website at www.Keepsheriffmichelle.com.

Marc Burns (D):  My name is Marc Burns. I am a lifelong resident of Kent County.  I have been in law enforcement for 30 years. I live here in Kent County with my wife and have raised three children with two in high school and one who has graduated. Our children enjoy sports and volunteering their time to several area causes and church functions.  I am a big fan of baseball and soccer and I have been a volunteer baseball coach since the age of 15. This area and Kent County has been a wonderful place for my family, and I want to preserve and enhance what we have here in West Michigan.  I have dedicated my life to public service and my team of highly respected and experienced officers will diligently protect and serve ALL members of this great County. I have respectfully and faithfully served the citizens of this County for over 30 years as a Deputy Sheriff, Supervisor, and Command Officer at the Kent County Sheriff’s Department. I am a Treasury Agent and enforcement officer and I investigate fraud for those who look to take advantage of Michigan taxpayers. I want to bring all of my experience to the Office of Sheriff and to have open and meaningful relationships with communities. 

What does he hope to accomplish if elected? It is my goal to bring back transparency, accountability and integrity to the Office of Sheriff. The Sheriff’s Department needs strong leadership and clear direction during these challenging times. I plan to create an Office of Professional Standards in order to integrate and oversee recruitment and hiring, staff training, and employee misconduct. I will propose the allocation of funds to purchase body cameras for all law enforcement officers. I will create a fair and equitable process for advancement within the Department. My new administration will bring needed change and a commitment to community input and dialogue. Citizens deserve to feel safe and have honest leadership from their elected enforcement officials, which is my priority. Please visit and support my team at Marcburnsforsheriff.com.

Kent County Clerk and Register of Deeds

Two are running for Kent County Clerk.

Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R): I’m Lisa Posthumus Lyons (40), Kent County’s Clerk / Register of Deeds, a position I’ve held since 2017. I’m proud to call Kent County my home, and am so grateful for the opportunity to serve my community. As a lifelong resident of Kent County, specifically Alto in Bowne Township, where my husband and I are now raising our four children, I have deep appreciation for the values that make Kent County a wonderful place to live, work, and serve. I’ve served as Clerk/Register since being elected in 2016. Prior to serving the county, I served in the Michigan House of Representatives, representing the 86th District (portions of Kent and Ionia Counties) from 2011-2016. In the House, I served as chair of the House Education, and House Elections & Ethics Committee. 

What does she hope to accomplish if you are elected? I am running for re-election as Kent County Clerk / Register to continue providing a strong voice for West Michigan, and to build upon my record of providing efficient, effective, and transparent leadership to Kent County residents.My office is diverse: Clerk (vital records, elections), Register of Deeds (property records), and Clerk of the Circuit Court (court records). Rapidly changing technology and legislation is the common trend in each department. During my first term we’ve modernized our vital & land records recording technology, as well as implemented new campaign finance management software for Elections. Next will be the implementation of e-filing of court records. The recent COVID-19 shutdown proved the essential need for citizens to be able to remotely interact with the county, and I’m committed to making that process easier for the end-user. 

My commitment to the voters, as their elected Clerk/Register, has been to run an efficient, effective, and transparent office, one that is responsive to needs, and feedback of the residents of Kent County.  In addition to serving in a public-facing office, where I’m able to interact one-on-one with the Kent County residents every day, I’m committed to using both traditional and new media for community outreach, making my office both accessible and responsive. I welcome any and all feedback, whenever the public is utilizing the services of one of our offices, or by phone, email, or social media. For more info visit her Website: www.lyonsforclerk.com; or Facebook: www.facebook.com/lisaposthumuslyons.

Devin Ortega (D): We did not receive a response from this candidate.

Kent County Treasurer

Three candidates are running for Kent County Treasurer. 

Peter MacGregor (R):  – I am currently the State Senator for the 28th Senate District, which includes the surrounding areas of Cedar Springs, Rockford, and Sparta, as well as the cities of Walker, Grandville, and Wyoming. I have lived in Kent County since 1990 and in the Cannon Township since 1996.  Prior to running for the state legislature, I owned a small business for 14 years selling, installing, and servicing indoor air quality systems.  I have been elected as a township trustee, township supervisor, twice as a state representative and I am currently in my second term as a state senator.  I have a passion to serve the community I love, but due to term limits I cannot run for state office again.  I want to continue to serve this community, where I have run a successful business and raised a family by running for Kent County Treasurer this November.  I have been happily married for 29 years to my wife Christine and together we have raised three sons in the Rockford area.  

I am excited about this new prospect. I believe that my experience as the senate appropriations subcommittee Chair of the state health and human services budget has given me a firm footing to manage the county treasurer’s office. As a previous small business owner, managing payroll and staff is something I am familiar with. And as a former township supervisor, I learned the intricacies of local government. I am confident in my experience. 

It is important that we work to protect Kent County’s Triple-A (AAA) bond rating as we move into these unchartered financial waters. By protecting our bond rating, we can keep taxes low.  I am committed to the fiscal responsibility I have demonstrated as a legislator, local elected official, and business owner.  Private property rights are extremely critical to maintain in the county treasurer position as well. Please contact or follow my campaign through www.ElectPeterMacGregor.com * Facebook – @MacGregor for Treasurer * Instagram – VoteMacGregor  * Twitter – @SenMacGregor *

Jose Reyna (D): I’m José L Reyna and I have lived in Ada for over 13 years.  I’m 60 years old and am originally from Corpus Christi, Texas. My family moved to Grand Rapids when I was a child and I grew up in Grand Rapids. I have lived in the Grand Rapids/West Michigan area for 50 years.  I am currently an independent consultant and provide services in the areas of organizational development and finance.  

My professional history includes the honor of serving as a Deputy Sheriff with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, Human Relations/EEO Director for the City of Holland.  I worked for the City of Grand Rapids and served in the positions of Special Events Coordinator, Assistant to the City Manager, and Fiscal Services Manager/Purchasing Agent. I also served as Director for Community Health Programs for Spectrum Health Systems.

I attended Grand Rapids Public Schools and graduated from Grand Rapids Central High.  I earned a BA in Sociology from Grand Valley State University and earned a Masters in Public Administration from Western Michigan University. I have two children who attend Forest Hills Northern Schools. 

I have 30 years of professional experience in the public sector and have been responsible to develop and manage departmental and city-wide budgets.  I have also been responsible to oversee the City of Grand Rapids’ Assessor’s Office and Purchasing Department.  It is my goal to use my experience of strong financial management in the role of Kent County Treasurer.  Specifically, I have the following three priorities: Maintain Kent County’s Strong Financial Position; increase civic engagement and government transparency; and improve services.

For more info, visit his website at https://www.josereyna.com/ or his FaceBook: José L Reyna for Kent County Treasurer.

Beth White (D): I grew up one of nine children in the blue-collar Detroit suburb of Inkster. The daughter of a sheet metal worker and a homemaker, I learned early lessons about the value of hard work and integrity, as well as the importance of education. I moved to Grand Rapids in 2002, and have lived in the South Hill neighborhood of Grand Rapids for 15 years. I served as a municipal attorney at both the City and County level for almost 20 years, giving advice to local Assessors, Treasurers, and government CFO’s. For 15 of those years, I served as an Assistant City Attorney and Deputy City Attorney in Grand Rapids. I was counsel to the City’s pension board, which managed over 800 million dollars in pension assets. I also served on the City’s retiree health care oversight committee.  I’ve taught a number of graduate-level classes at GVSU, and also served as Corporation Counsel in Kalamazoo County.  

 As a municipal attorney serving in West Michigan, I have observed how the policies and practices set by the County Treasurer’s office measurably impact the citizens, and the stability of the tax base. I understand how counties can leverage the policies of the Treasurer’s office responsibly and legally, in order to support the economic viability of the county, and help those most at risk of tax foreclosure.  When people are displaced, the burden on the County’s social services increases, and the stress on neighborhoods increases as well.  The law allows for payment plans, and provides an exemption from property taxes for those in poverty, as well as disabled vets.  Nobody should face foreclosure when they would have been entitled to an exemption from taxes. 

 I married my husband Paul four years ago.  We both waited until age 50 to get married, although we originally met in kindergarten. It›s a real “When Harry Met Sally” kind of story!

 As Treasurer, I will lead with three priorities:  1.) Providing responsible fiscal management and stewardship of public funds; 2.) Minimizing the number of tax foreclosures for owner-occupied properties; and 3.) Leading with honesty, transparency and accountability. Fpr more info, visit  votebethwhite.com.

Kent County Drain Commissioner

Two candidates are running for Kent County Drain Commissioner.

Ken Yonker (R): My name is Ken Yonker and I am running for re-election as the Kent County Drain Commissioner. It has been an honor serving Kent County these past 4 yrs. We have been able to finalize many projects, but there are more to complete.

I am 63 yrs. old, born and raised in Kent County and I currently live in Gaines twp. with my wife Amy. We have 3 sons and 1 daughter; 3 grandsons and 3 granddaughters; 4 horses; and 1 dog, all of whom reside in Kent County.

I graduated from Michigan State University where I majored in horticultural studies which included soil sciences, soil hydrology, natural ecological systems and plant identification, all which has applications to working with wet lands, flood plains and natural processes for water purification, which is one of the functions for the Drain Commission. I worked as a foreman for a large Excavating company in Kentwood and was the owner and operator of Yonker’s Landscaping Inc. for 28 yrs. before  I sold it. (It gave me) life experiences which taught me the skills that I have been able to apply to the Drain Commission position.

In 2010 I was elected to Michigan State House of Representatives and when I termed out, I was elected as the Drain Commissioner.  

Through my years as a private business owner and as a public servant I have built healthy relationships with the departments of the DNR and EGLE (formerly DEQ). These relationships are critical when working on drain projects to get them done timely and with the results we need for a healthy drain system. 

To learn more about me go to my website at www.kenyonker.com

Elaine Isley (D): I moved to West Michigan in 1996 when I accepted my first full-time legal job after attending law school in Detroit. I grew up in Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC, and I go back to visit my family whenever I can.I now live in Grand Rapids Township with my husband, Paul, and my 9 year old son, Terrance. We have three rescued animals – Rex is an almost-2-year-old American Foxhound mix, and Jellybean and Slash are tabby cats.

After practicing law for several years, I shifted to environmental policy and water resource management. I’ve spent the last 15 years in this field. My current position is Director of Water Programs at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, and I spent several years at Grand Valley State University’s Water Resources Institute.

The Drain Commissioner is responsible for administering laws involving flood protection, stormwater management, and soil erosion for the protection of Michigan’s water resources. As we see more severe storms more often, we will need to implement better and more innovative practices to help manage the runoff to our local rivers, lakes, and steams. Practices that more closely mimic nature should be the default, unless there are engineering or long-term economic issues that make implementation unreasonable. Public education is a key component of this work, and I would continue to collaborate with other organizations and community groups in West Michigan to share resources and avoid duplication of efforts so that more audiences can be reached. For more info:https://iselyfordraincommissioner.com/

Kent County Commission 3rd District

Two candidates are running for Kent County Commissioner in the 3rd District. 

Roger Morgan (R): We did not receive a response from this candidate.

G. Scott Schuiling (D): We did not receive a response from this candidate.

Algoma Township Treasurer

Two candidates are running for Algoma Township treasurer.

Kristina Bitely-Abrigo (R): Current Treasurer, Kristina Bitely-Abrigo, grew up in Algoma Township next to her grandparents, Gordon & Eileen Bitely. She was raised in faith by her parents Mike & Peggy Bitely to love and respect God and family. That love brought Kristina and her husband, John, back to Michigan in the spring of 2019 after seven years of suburban living in South Texas.  While there, Kristina realized the importance of balancing responsible land development and preservation of the freedoms and benefits associated with rural living.Kristina was hired as Deputy Treasurer in June 2019 and appointed Treasurer in February 2020. Prior to that Kristina was an Office Manager for a church in Corpus Christi, TX.  Before leaving MI, Kristina operated a state licensed in home daycare in Sparta, MI.  Kristina and her husband have 5 children, 4 grandchildren and reside in the home Kristina grew up in.

Mary Donnelly-Milligan (R): We did not receive a response from this candidate.

Algoma Township Trustees

Seven candidates are running for four trustee positions in Algoma Township. We received emails back from three of them.

Gordon Pickerd (R): Is running for reelection. He is a 25 year resident of Algoma Twp. He is retired, and an avid volunteer, woodworker and reader. His military experience includes Marine Air Wing ( El. Toro Calif.) 3rd Marine Division (Okinawa); and Marine Barracks (Key West, Florida). He is an active board member, and likes helping people and organizations move forward in a positive manner.

Bob Wilson (R): Incumbent Robert (Bob) Wilson, 72, and wife, Ann have resided in Algoma Township for 38 years. They are both transplanted Hoosiers but, by now, really count themselves as true Michiganders. They have a son, daughter-in-law and two wonderful granddaughters whom live outside Seattle. Bob has served Algoma Township in varying roles for approximately 32 years; from Chairman and/or Member of the Planning Commission, original member of the Parks & Recreation Committee, Zoning Board of Appeals, and presently is a Board Trustee. While Chairing the Planning Commission, he led 2 separate updates to the

Township Master Plan. While on the Parks and Recreation Committee, he facilitated the design of the Algoma Sports Park. As a Trustee, he has directly assisted with the development of a more stable and fiscally responsible sewer service for Camp Lake. He drove the completion of the new township digital sign which will improve communication with Algoma citizens.

If elected to another term as Trustee, Bob will continue to focus on providing the maximum services to Algoma residents within a shrinking tax rate. “Growth of Algoma through development will continue. We have to manage it through the vision within the Master Plan as described by its citizens. A significant element of that plan is broadband access to all residents. We have all recognized the role internet access plays while being stay-at-home. I will focus and find ways to promote that service throughout Algoma Township.”

Steve Rikkers (R):  I am 52 years old and live in Algoma Township, am originally from East Grand Rapids and have lived in Algoma Township since 2015. Employed by Allied Mineral Products as an outside technical salesman working predominately in the metal casting industry. Married for 25 years and have two boys (John and Matthew) ages 21 and 17.

If elected, I hope to bring a fiscally responsible approach to spending; update short and long term strategic planning; common sense enforcement of laws; and more community involvement through new voices.

Other candidates running who did not return information include Elizabeth Johnson, Eric Schoof, and Tom Ungrey. Also running is James Powell, who did not provide an email address.

Courtland Township trustees

There are five candidates running for four positions. Only three returned our emails.

Mary Ann Andersen (R): I am a retired teacher. I have lived in Courtland Township for 45 years.  I currently serve on the Planning Commission, I have served on the ZBA, Sewer Advisory Board, Sesquicentennial Co Chair in 1989,  RACE representative, and Clerk for 10 years.  I enjoy being involved and I have enjoyed serving the residents of Courtland Township.

Terry Bartels: I am a lifelong resident of Michigan and have lived in Kent County for the past 23 years. I am a husband, father, grandfather and a man of faith. During my 40 years as a Civil engineer,  I have worked with well over 100 townships throughout the lower peninsula.  During this time, I have gained a good perspective as to what makes a board function well.  I have previously served on various church boards, a city planning commission, homeowner’s association boards and as Chaplain to the Lions Club. I am currently serving as a trustee on the Courtland Township Board.  I have used my experience as a civil engineer to provide insight and guidance for expansion of the township playground, development of a walking trail, and developed plans for drainage improvements at the township office. I am dedicated to maintaining a great quality of life in Courtland Township, committed to preserving the township’s rural character by promoting responsible growth, and I support the use of local businesses whenever possible.

Sandy Frandsen (R): (No photo provided) My name is Sandra Frandsen. I am seeking election for a Trustee position on the governmental board for Courtland Township. I have been fortunate to have been born and raised in our great township! I have lived here for sixty years and raised my three children Cory, Andrea and Austin here as well. I was raised on a dairy farm and have deep roots and respect for the rural agricultural component of our township! I have served as our township Clerk for three years and would like the opportunity to continue serving our residents and my community. My desire is to serve our township with great integrity and respect for all!

Candidates Kimberly McIntyre and Michele Mojzuk did not return our email.

Nelson Township Supervisor

Two candidates are running for Nelson Township Supervisor.

Robyn Britton (R): Incumbent Robyn Britton is running for reelection as Supervisor. She is also a residential home planner and designer with an education in real estate and accounting. She’s been a business owner for nearly 32 years in Nelson Township; served 4 years as Township Supervisor, Planning Commission 4 yrs., and served on the Board of Review and Community Grant Advisory Board. 

Robyn said she is running again because the last 4 years hasn’t been long enough to complete everything she’s wanted to do. “Having a solid presence in the Township has strengthened our relationship with Kent County in accomplishing a number of the township goals from road repair to funding. As a result, the township has seen $ 4.5 million dollars in primary and local road funding. On top of that, my residents have a voice now. Office hours are very important and all board members have to have a full understanding on what is going on in their community to make sound decisions.

Funding – With Covid-19 we know that our State Revenue will be reduced. We need to make sure we are fiscally sound. My first priority is to Nelson Township taxpayers and making sure they have a sound budget. During my term I have been able to get preservation projects funded keeping our costs to a minimum. However, as Grand Rapids continues to grow, we face many challenges when it comes to land development. As Nelson Township Supervisor, I would never support building a Dollar General in a cornfield. That is why we develop and maintain zoning ordinances and a township master plan. By respecting the community’s input, we can maintain and build our community without losing our most valuable asset, our Farmland and Country feel.

I’ve been endorsed by my Township Clerk, Treasurer and Trustee, a working relationship is vital to a Township’s success.  Not only have I been endorsed by most of the Township Board, 4 People running for the board position on the Village of Sand Lake have also endorsed me. My goal is to have our communities come together in prosperity. For more info visit her Campaign Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Re-Elect-Robyn-Britton-Nelson-Township-Supervisor-110822527185367/

Glen Armstrong (R): I’ve lived in Nelson Township my whole life (65 years). I’m employed as an Electronics Engineer for GE Aviation, where I work on the “black boxes” for aircraft. I am married with three grown children and I will be retiring after this year. I have served Nelson Township for the last 30 years, as a Planning commissioner, trustee, and Supervisor.

I have always felt that decisions on the Township Board should be based on what is best for the residents of the township and not just the elected officials. If elected I will continue to make decisions using logic and common sense, not animosity.

Nelson Township trustees

There are five people running for two Nelson Township trustee positions. Only three returned our emails requesting info.

Curtis DeJong (R): I was raised in Cedar Springs on the corner of Church and Second Street. I had the privilege of marrying my best friend Katie in 2010 at First Baptist Church in Cedar Springs. We have been blessed with 2 children, Cameron (6) and Natalie (3). Along with 2 dogs and 1 cat as our fur companions. Shortly before our daughter’s birth we unexpectedly lost Katie’s mother to cancer. As a result, we sold our home in Sand Lake and moved in with her father on 18 mile road across from East Nelson Church. This has been a blessing for us all.

I earned a Bachelor’s degree with honors, in Elementary Education along with minors in Language Arts, Social Studies and Child Development at Ferris University. In 2017 I earned my Master’s degrees with high honors in Education Administration.

During the final semesters of my undergraduate studies, I taught pre school and created a kindergarten readiness program. After completing College, I became the director of Head Start for Southern Newaygo county. Then, 7 years ago, I accepted my current position at Greenville Public Schools as a proud second-grade educator. I also serve on the District Leadership team, and Building Leadership Team for Cedar Crest Elementary.

For the past 2 years, I have had the privilege of serving Nelson Township on the Board of Review.  This has been a privilege for me, as I have met so many amazing people from our township. I believe in being transparent with voters. I support farmers, small business, Veterans, and all families of Nelson Township. I will protect the rights of our residents. My decisions will be based on facts, and on the desires of our community. As a younger resident I have ideas that are fresh and can help attract more individuals to get involved in local government. My team experience as a public school teacher will prove valuable to our community. If elected, I hope to bring Nelson Township into the 21st century – Update technology use, Facebook live & Youtube live our meetings, update website, etc. and help the township and village of Sand Lake work together to provide the best opportunities and resources to all citizens of Nelson Township and the Village. For more info visit https://www.facebook.com/dejongtrustee

Daniel George (R): My name is Daniel George, 68 years old. I’ve lived in Nelson Township for a total of 15+ years, and at my most recent address with my wife Debi for 12+ years. I have two grown children who grew up in this township, including my daughter, Dani, who now lives in Memphis, TN and my son, Hunter, who lives in Rochester, NY. I’m originally from upstate New York, but I have lived in western Michigan for a total of 40+ years. I am recently retired as the Superintendent of Creative Technologies Academy where I served for 10+ years.

I served as President of the CTA Board of Directors prior to my employment with the Academy. I have served on the Board of Review for Nelson Township and I have also served on the board of my church. I recently served on the Cedar Springs Community Building and Design Team’s Design Committee. I currently serve on the national Board of Directors for Polestar Outdoors, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Cody, Wyoming that mentors youth in the outdoors. I have been a member of the Pineview Homes Board of Directors for 45 years. Pineview is a nonprofit home in Evart, Michigan for approximately 35 delinquent, abused and neglected boys who are wards of the state or court system.

As an educator, I pursued the accomplishment of tasks with an open mind and a spirit of collaboration. My staff, families, and members of the community who know me would attest that my primary goal was to do what was best for kids, all kids. As a Trustee for Nelson Township, I would have the same philosophy about accomplishing board business and my primary goal would be to do what is best for the residents of Nelson Township, all of the residents.

Maureen Mahoney (R): I have lived in Nelson Township for 20 years.  Prior to that I lived and Kansas City Missouri and was born in New Jersey.  I am currently a medical assistant for Mercy Health Physician Partners and have worked there for 19 years.  I am not married and have no children of my own, however I have 6 nieces and nephews and three great nieces.

I am currently a Trustee for Nelson Township and have been for 12 years.  I am a member of the planning commission board.  I am also the president of the Friends of the Library for the Nelson Township/Sand Lake branch. If elected, I want to stay involved in the community and continue to serve.

The other two candidates running are Margaret Merritt and Darcy Strypko.

Solon Township trustees

Three candidates are running for two positions as trustees on the Solon Township board.

Kyle Dee (R): My name is Kyle J. Dee, 32 years old, living in Solon Township and running for elections as Township Trustee. I was born in Pittsburgh, PA before my family moved to West Michigan in 2000. Growing up in West Michigan, I was very involved with my church and youth programs as well as volunteering at a local food pantry. I attended Olivet Nazarene University, in Illinois, where I met the love of my life, Amy. I joined the Illinois Army National Guard, as an Infantryman, in 2011 and shipped off to Basic Training just 3 months after marrying Amy. After returning from Basic Training, I spent the next year preparing for a deployment to Afghanistan before the deployment was eventually cancelled. I transferred to the Michigan Army National Guard at the end of 2012, where I spent the remainder of my contract. During my time with the Army, I participated in several large scale joint training missions and competed in the Governor’s 20 shooting competition and Expert Infantryman Badge course. I separated from the Army with an honorable discharge and believe that the lessons I learned through my training help me in my day-to-day work.

I am a Production Manager for Allen Edwin Homes and have been with them since January of 2018. Prior to working for Allen Edwin, I worked for a property management company as a Project Manager. I really enjoy spending time and playing with my children, Rorey and Kiera, and Sci-Fi. 

I believe the greatest challenge in Solon Township, is to engage the public in the issues that the township is dealing with. I plan to set up social media platforms that will make the issues more easily accessible to the public. As our area continues to grow and thrive, we need to make sure that we are looking at new ways to handle increased budgets and growing township needs. This is why I’m running for Solon Township Trustee. As the youngest member of the board, I will bring new ideas and present a different viewpoint on issues and opportunities that present themselves. 

Mark Hoskins (R): I am 61 years old and have been a resident of Solon township for the last 15 years, but I have lived in the Cedar Springs area all my life. My wife, Joy, and I have been married for 43 years, and we have 7 children and 22 grandchildren. I am a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, specializing in the north Kent county area for the last 35 years. In Nov 1981 I was elected to the Cedar Springs City Council, where I served for four years.  I was appointed to the Solon township Planning Board, where I served for 2 years.  Subsequently, I was asked to fill a vacancy on the Trustee board for a couple of years, after which I was elected Trustee of Solon township in 2016.  I have served as a deacon and treasurer in churches where I was a member. 

My goals for the next term will be keeping water and soil in our township safe from outside contaminants, preserving our rural setting and continuing development of Velzy Park behind our township hall.

Jon Stout (R): My name is Jon Stout. I was raised in Cedar Springs and have lived in Solon Township for the past 50 years. This year my wife and I celebrated our 40th anniversary. Our hearts belong to our four children and seven grandchildren. At 63, I have dedicated the majority of my life in various positions that served our community and surrounding areas. At age 17 I joined Solon Township’s Fire department. One year later, I was elected as the state’s youngest Constable. Twenty-three years later, I retired from Solon Fire as their chief. While serving Solon’s community, I also joined Kent County Sheriff’s Mounted Division as a reserve deputy, and Sand Lake’s Police department as a reserve officer. For the pasts 30 years, I have provided my experience and service in assisting individuals as their real estate broker at Stout Group Ltd. Three years ago I was accepted to serve on Solon’s Board of Appeals. The experience on that board has encouraged me to serve our community as trustee in a way that will assist in Solon’s future. It has always been my home. I have lived through Solon’s growth and seen the changes that have developed it into what it is today. It will continue to grow and change. I want to be part of the decisions that will affect its future for the benefit of all who call this home, too.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Primary election August 4

MDARD issues advisory regarding unsolicited packages of seeds from China

Consumers should not plant them and should report it to USDA-APHIS

From the Michigan Department of Agriculture

LANSING—Across the United States, people have been reporting receiving unsolicited packages containing seeds from China in the mail. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is warning residents who receive these packages not to open or plant the seeds.

The seeds are usually sent in white packages displaying Chinese lettering and the words China Post. Most recipients say they did not order anything, and that the packaging was labeled as jewelry. Some recipients have reported ordering seeds on Amazon and receiving these seeds.

“If you receive unsolicited seeds from another country, do not plant them. If they are in sealed packaging, do not open the package,” said Mike Philip, director of MDARDs Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division. “We don’t know what type of seeds are in the packages, but we do know they come in a variety of sizes and colors, with some reported to be very tiny. These unsolicited seeds could be invasive, introduce diseases to local plants, or be harmful to livestock.”

The packages may be a part of a brushing scam. A brushing scam is an exploit by a vendor used to bolster product ratings and increase visibility online by shipping an inexpensive product to an unwitting receiver and then submitting positive reviews on the receiver’s behalf under the guise of a verified owner.

“If planted, these unknown and potentially invasive species could have a very negative impact on the environment. Additionally, we’re asking people not to throw the seeds or packages away or dispose of them,” added Philip. “MDARD appreciates the cooperation of Michiganders who receive these packages as we work together to protect Michigan agriculture.”

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Services Plant Protection and Quarantine Smuggling, Interdiction and Trade Compliance Unit is currently investigating this situation across the nation. If you receive an unsolicited package of seeds from China, hold on to the seeds, packaging and mailing label, and contact MDARDs Customer Service Center, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.  5 p.m., at 800-292-3939 or via MDA-Info@michigan.gov.

For more information on MDARDs Pesticide and Plant Pesticide Management Division, visit www.michigan.gov/mdard.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off on MDARD issues advisory regarding unsolicited packages of seeds from China

Cedar Springs Public Schools Bond Proposal

From Cedar Springs Public Schools

It has been nearly twenty years since voters in the Cedar Springs Public Schools community passed a bond to support significant building improvements. The District is asking the community to vote on a school bond proposal in an election to be held on August 4, 2020. 

Rather than increasing taxes, the District is asking voters to approve a bond proposal that would extend the District’s current tax levy of 7.0 mills through 2036. After that, the tax levy would decline steadily through 2052. The sale of these bonds would generate $68,000,000 for improvements to each school impacting every student. The cost of the new proposal is 16 percent less than the proposal that failed in November 2019.

If voters approve the bond proposal, there would be no expected tax rate increase for property owners. Based on county tax records, property values in Cedar Springs have increased consistently over time.  

“As long as this historical trend continues, the millage rate would remain capped at 7 mills to pay off these new bonds,” according to Scott Smith, Cedar Springs Superintendent.  

 “We don’t expect a tax rate increase because we don’t expect property values to decline in Cedar Springs,” continued Smith. “I can’t promise that the tax rate won’t ever increase because I can’t look into the future of property values in our community. This wording is simply the most honest language we can use for our voters.” 

Typically, an investment in school facilities makes a community more attractive to families which results in an increase in property values. Some districts choose to say, “this bond will not increase your taxes.” According to Smith, “that statement is simply not true if the property values within a community decrease.” 

Safety and security at each of the schools will be enhanced if this proposal passes in August. The District will construct secure building entrances at schools that currently do not have them. It will also make improvements to the traffic flow, parking, and sidewalks at select locations on campus for safety and increased circulation of people and vehicles.

The proposal on the ballot allows the District to invest in capital improvements needed in each building. Proposed projects include the replacement of boilers, unit ventilators, roofing, and carpeting as needed, to extend the useful life of facilities. It will also provide energy efficient climate-control systems including air conditioning for each classroom to keep students cool when it is hot outside and warm when it is cold outside. 

Overcrowding at the High School would be addressed through an addition of 12 classrooms and other support spaces.  The District is not asking voters to approve a new school for our 8th and 9th graders like it did back in November. The existing 1960s academic wings at Beach would be replaced with new classrooms as they have outlived their useful lives. Lastly, the District would use bond funds to replace outdated educational technology.

While the District does not have a long-term use plan for the Hilltop Administration Building, it is committed to being creative in its efforts to find a cost-effective solution for that building that adds value to the District and the community.

To learn more about the August 4th bond proposal, please  visit the CSPS website at csredhawks.org, attend one of their upcoming virtual community forums through zoom (see calendar on their website), or email Scott Smith, Superintendent of Schools directly at scott.smith@csredhawks.org. 

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Township ballot proposals

Voters in both Nelson and Spencer Townships will see proposals on the ballot on August 4 that they must vote on.

In Nelson Township, they will be voting on an additional 0.1120 ill for township library purposes. This is to restore millage reductions under the “Headlee Amendment” to bring it back up to the previously-approved permanent Nelson Township library millage of 0.5 mill ($0.50 per $1,000 of taxable value). This would be for a period of four years, beginning in the year 2020 and continuing through the year 2023.

The purpose of this new additional millage is to continue to provide library services and support and maintenance of the Township library. It is estimated that a levy of the additional 0.1120 mill would provide revenue of $15,228 in the first calendar year. The revenue from this millage levy will be disbursed to the Township of Nelson, for distribution to the Library Fund.

Spencer Township has two proposals, both for the fire department. One is for an additional .5 mill for fire equipment and apparatus. It would run from 2021 through 2024, to provide funds for the acquisition, operation and maintenance of fire equipment and apparatus including, but not limited to, fire and rescue vehicles. It is estimated that a levy of the additional 0.5000 mill would provide revenue of $68,500 in the first calendar year.

The second proposal for Spencer Township is a renewal of 1.00 Mill for Fire Protection Purposes.

It would renew the current 1.00 mill ($1.00 per $1,000 of taxable value), and be levied in the years 2021-2024. The purpose of this levy is to provide fire protection within the Township, including the operation, maintenance and equipping of the Township Fire Department, and the acquisition and maintenance of fire and rescue vehicles, apparatus, equipment, buildings and other improvements for fire protection purposes. It is estimated that a levy of 1.00 mills would provide revenue of $139,000 in the first calendar year. 

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Enjoyable butterfly counts

By Ranger Steve Mueller

Four West Michigan Butterfly Association (WMBA) count summaries are posted in Table 1. Community members participated with WMBA members. Counts are part of a North American Butterfly Association (NABA) continent wide program. Michigan has 17 plus or minus counts annually. For various reasons not all counts occur each year. As Michigan’s editor, I examine count results and the data are published by NABA annually. Not all data have been received for 2020. We will see how Covid-19 affects this year’s adventures. Hopefully outdoor counts continued with adequate social distancing and masks. 

Personally my immune system is compromised with uncurable terminal multiple myeloma cancer. I thank people for wearing masks to protect others, themselves and me. Mostly, I continue to stay at home except for weekly chemo and rare outings.

Each butterfly count is organized differently. We travel in one group to help each other with searching and identification. Some groups split and survey small sections of their count area individually to provide greater site coverage. Locally we like the single group. It helps new people learn species and habitat associations. 

Table 1 shows that both species and individual numbers vary among count circles. Reasons for variance include dates for counts and habitat suitability. As the season progresses, different species end flight periods and new ones begin. Highly important is habitat size and plant composition. We try to visit a good representation of habitats in each count circle. Count circles have a 7.5-mile radius from a selected center point that remains constant from year to year. Rogue River and Muskegon counts have been surveyed for more than 30 years. 

Fifty-six species were observed on our combined four counts. That is about 1/3 of all Michigan species. At the bottom of Table 1, notice the species and numbers for each count. Included are the immature butterfly life cycle stages found as egg, larva, or chrysalis. 

To learn butterflies and associate them with habitat, consider joining the WMBA and participating in the 2021 local counts. Club members are friendly and helpful. If interested in other Michigan or national counts contact me for information. You can contact me now and I will reach out to you next summer. Contact me if you are interested in acquiring the book Michigan Butterflies and Skippers by Mo Nielsen. I have some of the last remaining copies.

Google the “West Michigan Butterfly Association” web site or contact me for club or butterfly information. 

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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Top ways to take a safe vacation

(StatePoint) After months spent indoors at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s clear that many people are itching to get back out there and take a vacation. This is with good reason. Staying isolated for too long can take a substantial toll on one’s mental health and well-being, according to the American Psychological Association.

If you still feel uncomfortable with going far from your home for a travel experience however, traveling domestically can be a step in the right direction. There are lots of great places to visit a few hours’ drive from your home that you probably didn’t think of! Whether you’re looking for a beach stay, or some nature, exploring options close to home can allow for an escape you and your family want, and in a safe environment, such as an apartment or home vacation rental. And it’s an increasingly popular choice. According to trivago, a global accommodation metasearch provider, the share of users clicking on deals for such vacation rentals increased by 5 percent from February to June 2020, both in the U.S. and internationally.

As you book and plan your travel, here are a few tips to consider to help ensure you have a healthy and safe experience:

  • DIY Cleaning: If you are worried about cleaning standards, consider seeking out accommodations where you don’t have to worry about someone else coming into your space during your stay. Bring your own wipes, anti-bacterial soap and other supplies and wipe down surfaces when you arrive, and as often as needed. Of course, you should always check with your accommodation provider about their hygiene standards to make sure they meet your expectations. Major hotel chains have announced special cleaning protocols in light of the coronavirus.
  • Beating the Crowds: From beach houses to mountain cabins, try to look for a vacation experience away from densely populated city destinations, which is a good choice for those wanting to beat the crowds.
  • Staying Active: Getting away doesn’t have to mean staying indoors somewhere new. Take a leisurely stroll on a beach. Go on a hike in the mountains. Explore a national park you’ve always wanted to see. Brunch at a small local café. There are plenty of ways to stay active and have fun, all while following social distance guidelines.
  • Choosing Your Destination: So where is everybody going? The current most popular U.S travel destinations by click share according to trivago are:
  • 1. Las Vegas
  • 2. Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  • 3. Panama City Beach, Fla.
  • 4. Virginia Beach, Va.
  • 5. Destin, Fla.
  • 6. Miami Beach, Fla.
  • 7. Ocean City, Md.
  • 8. Galveston, Texas
  • 9. South Padre Island, Texas
  • 10. Orlando, Fla.
  • 11. Key West, Fla.

For more travel tips and ideas, visit trivago.com, and trivago.com/corona for the most up-to-date travel restrictions.

Whether you hit up a popular destination or head somewhere remote, make sure you adhere to local health guidelines when traveling. And above all, stay safe and healthy.

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Vote for Curtis DeJong

Dear Citizens of Nelson Township,

You have an opportunity to vote for an outstanding member of our community for trustee.  Curtis DeJong is an enthusiastic young man with the skills, energy and desire to contribute and make a positive difference in our township.  I have known Curtis since he was in my first grade class, and he has always been willing to work hard to set and achieve his goals.  His background and experience in business and education makes him uniquely qualified to be an excellent leader and communicator for the people of Nelson Township.  Please vote for Curtis on Tuesday, August 4.  


Karen L. Gebhardt, Nelson Township

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