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M. Jean Pratt Chulski

C-OBIT-chulskiM. Jean Pratt Chulski, 91 of Cedar Springs, passed into life eternal on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at Clark Retirement Community. Jean was born April 28, 1923 in Courtland Township, MI the daughter of Eugene and Jennie (Robson) Benham. Her parents, brothers, Nan and Leon; sisters, Marion Ward, Marjorie Mulford, Marie Opperman Cain and Jane Rice, as well as nephew, Gilbert Rice preceded her in death. Jean attended Benham School and graduated from Cedar Springs High School Class of 1941. She married a south Courtland boy, Ross Pratt in July of 1946 and he preceded her in 1976. Ross and Jean had four children, Jan (Duane) Ellis, John (Patty) Pratt, Mary (Jack) Tinholt, Joan (Dennis) Karn; nine grandchildren and their spouses; five great grandchildren. After Ross’s death, she married Karl Chulski in 1982 and he preceded her in 2002. She is also survived by his children, Lois (Harrison) Brigham, Karl (Maria) Chulski, Mark (Val) Chulski; Karl’s grandchildren and great grandchildren; numerous cherished nieces, nephews and friends. Jean was a longtime member (66 years) of  the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church. The family will greet friends Sunday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Her funeral will be held Monday 11:00 am at the United Methodist Church, 140 S. Main St, Cedar Springs. Pastor Steve Lindeman officiating. Interment Courtland Township Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, Clark Retirement Community or Emmanuel Hospice.

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JOHNSON – FEIGHNER

C-Engage-JohnsonFeighnerMr. and Mrs. Nort and Kelly Johnson are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Kaitlin Elizabeth Johnson to Alexander Christian Feighner, son of Catherine Griesmer and Charles Feighner. The couple will be united in marriage on December 13, 2014 and will reside in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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25th Anniversary

C-ANNIV-WilesC-ANNIV-Wiles-wedding

JOHN & BARB WILES

 

John and Barb Wiles of Cedar Springs are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary on September 23, 2014. John and Barb were married on September 23, 1989 and have two children, Luke Wiles and Meredith Wiles.

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BRUCE O. SMITH

C-obit-SmithBruce O. Smith 74 of Cedar Springs, died Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at his home. Bruce was born April 25, 1940 in Lakeview, Michigan the son of Olin and Lucille (Christensen) Smith. He was a millwright and had retired from Federal Mogul (Sparta Foundry) in 2000. He was a member of the Hungerford Saddle Club and the Flat River Tractor Pullers. Surviving are his wife, Sharon, whom he married on Oct. 20, 1961; sons, Scott A. Smith and Randy B. Smith; granddaughter, Abigaile; brother, Dennis Smith; several nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorials may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice, 4500 Breton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs.

 

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LEONARD E. GOULD 

Leonard E. Gould, 89 of Cedar Springs, died Friday, September 12, 2014 at home. Leonard was born April 27, 1925 in Courtland Township, Michigan the son of Forrest and Rose (Schumacher) Gould. He was a veteran of World War II serving in the U.S. Army, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He was a Farmall tractor mechanic, heating and cooling serviceman and had been assistant chief for the City of Cedar Springs Fire Department. Leonard was a lifetime member, over 65 years, of the Glen Hill American Legion Post, Cedar Springs. Surviving are his wife, Thelma (Ball), whom he married on June 18, 1948; children, Beth A. Gould-Phelps, Bruce E. (Deborah) Gould, Douglas A. Gould; 10 grandchildren; 27 great grandchildren; brother, Ralph Gould; sister-in-law, Adeline Rusche; brother-in-law, George LeValley; several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters, Marjorie Gould, Marian Smith, Marie Keene; and a grandson, Derek Gould in 1980. The family greeted friends Tuesday, Sept. 16 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service was held Wednesday 11:00 am at Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church. Pastor Robert Eckert officiating. Interment Courtland Township Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Courtland Oakfield United Methodist Church. God Bless Our Troops!

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

 

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Thank You

A big thank you to our families, friends and neighbors for prayers, food, flowers and cards. The United Methodist Church ladies for the nice luncheon and to Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home for the excellent service. Also, thank you to Courtland Rescue for your efforts.

 

The Family of Beverly Parker

 

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Thank You

We want to thank our families, friends and neighbors for the many acts of kindness, flowers, memorials, cards and prayers. Thanks also to The Springs Church and Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home for their kind servies.

 

“Love the people God sent you – one day He is going to need them back – and we know not how soon.”

 

The family of Bruce Eldred

 

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What Is wrong with the world?

By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” goes the French proverb credited to Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” It’s not that a society or person organization cannot be transformed. But such change is often cosmetic or superficial. Reality isn’t altered at the deeper, more profound levels.

Simply examine today’s news feeds. There is conflict in the Middle East; fresh bloodshed in Iraq; a looming humanitarian catastrophe in Africa; upheaval with Russia; political unrest at home; is it 2014, 1985, 1978, 1959, or 1913? Has nothing changed within these geopolitical situations? Of course, everything has changed.

There have been new regimes, new faces, and new promises; the old guard has passed; generations have come and gone; the young and the restless have replaced the traditional and the settled. But the root issues and causes – things like greed, selfishness, sexism, patriarchy, racism, and tribalism, remain untouched.

Leo Tolstoy said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world; but no one thinks of changing himself.” Everything we see in the larger world is a reflection of the individual, human heart. So we can’t begin with the world. We have to begin with our own hearts.

One of the greatest British writers of the 20th century was G.K. Chesterton. My favorite essay of his is a tiny one written to his local newspaper, The London Times. The editors solicited responses from the paper’s readership by asking this question: “What is wrong with the world?” Hundreds of long, verbose letters poured in. Then eminent authors and leading thinkers of the day responded with essays. The shortest and most powerful response to “What is wrong with the world?” came from Chesterton.  He wrote: “Dear Sirs, I am.”

If anything about this world is going to change, it will be you, and the change cannot be cosmetic, superficial, or an artificial cover-up. Change must be at the heart, deep within, where our darkness lurks, our transgressions take shelter, and where all our spiritual neurosis is born.

So while I’m quoting Karr, Tolstoy, and Chesterton, I’ll add one more great philosopher to the list. Bob Dylan wrote, “There’s a battle outside and it’s ragin’. It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls, for the times they are a changin’.” True, but the real battle is on the inside, for if the world is going to change, the change must begin right there.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author of multiple books. Please visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.

 

 

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Servaas supports O’Hara for Judge

 

Retiring 63rd District Court Judge Steven Servaas announced last week that he is supporting attorney Jeffrey O’Hara’s bid to succeed him. Judge Servaas is stepping down after serving as the 63rd District Court Judge for 42 years.

Judge Servaas said, “I have known Jeff as a trial lawyer for over twenty-five years. Jeff has appeared in my courtroom hundreds of times. He has extensive experience in criminal law which makes him the best prepared for a court where 80 percent of cases argued are criminal. I have witnessed firsthand his courtroom skills. He knows the law, the courtroom procedure, and the rules of evidence; all of which are imperative to being an effective judge. He also has the right judicial temperament. I have never seen Jeff raise his voice or lose his temper. He always conducts himself in a professional and respectful manner. I am aware that he is endorsed by nearly every sitting judge in Kent County.  Observing Jeff as I have, it came as no surprise to me that the Grand Rapids Bar Association evaluated him as ‘Exceptionally Well Qualified,’ the highest rating. I wholeheartedly endorse Jeff for our next 63rd District Court Judge, and ask voters to join me in voting for Jeff O’Hara on November 4th.”

Jeff O’Hara has been practicing law since 1986. He has personally handled over 2500 cases. He and his wife Christie, a 2nd grade teacher in the Rockford School District, are parents to Kathryn (Nick) Wallis, Daniel, and Colleen.

The 63rd District court covers half of Kent County, from 4 Mile Road north. Any registered voter living in that area is eligible to vote for this position in the November election.

 

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From the Editor’s Desk

 

By Judy Reed

 

Late last month, the Cedar Springs City Council went into closed session without being specific on what it regarded. When they came out, there was a vote on a new contract for the City Manager. It was approved 4-3. (click here for story.) This is a letter I read to the Council at their last meeting, September 11.

 

Cedar Springs City Council,

I have spoken with the Mayor briefly about this, but wanted to make the council aware of some concerns I have regarding the procedure used at last month’s meeting to approve the new contract for our city manager.

Please understand that I am not disputing the contract. It’s nothing personal regarding Thad. He is our City Manager, and if you have evaluated him and decided that he met his goals and will continue as our City Manager, then he does indeed need a contract.

My concerns, as I said, are with the procedure:

First, why wasn’t it on the agenda as approval of the City Manager’s contract? Instead, it was added to the end of the agenda to go into closed session to discuss “attorney correspondence.” And when you (the council) actually adjourned to closed session, the minutes read that you motioned to go into Executive Session, (which is a term used by the private sector and not a municipality) “to discuss a written, legal opinion of the City Attorney.” No mention of the City Manager contract. The language should have been more specific.

That presented two problems: One, it left the public in the dark, and gave them no time to comment on it. And two, even the council members did not have a copy of the contract, or know what was to be discussed, so had no time to digest the information before voting on it.

My second big concern is that the Open Meetings Act only allows specific things that you can go into closed session for. Discussing a city manager’s contract is NOT one of them. You can see the list in Sec. 8 of the OMA. Attorneys Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC, of Michigan, who wrote “Dealing with Employment Issues and Complying with the Open Meetings Act,” specifically stated this in their conclusion. They said:

CONCLUSION

Closed session is permitted under certain circumstances for discussion of:

dismissal, suspension, or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, or to consider a periodic personnel evaluation;

collective bargaining; or

applications.

However, not every employment-related issue falls into these exemptions.

For example, a city may not meet in closed session to negotiate a new employment contract (except for a collective bargaining agreement) for a city manager. Similarly, a village may not meet in closed session to discuss budget cuts that may result in layoffs or the reduction of employment benefits.” (http://www.fosterswift.com/publications-Employment-Issues-Complying-Open-Meetings-Act.html)

I do understand that Thad’s contract was to expire yesterday, Sept. 10 and you were under the gun to get it done. But since it was already late in the game, I think it would have been better to give Council members some time to digest the contract, and the public some notice, and then either approve it in a special meeting or at tonight’s meeting, even though a day late. Otherwise, it appears to people like it was something railroaded through. And I don’t think you want that or meant for it to be that way.

I believe that each one of you wants what’s best for this city, although you may have different ideas of what that is. The other thing you have in common is that you all want people to be more involved in their city government. But they can’t do that if you shut them out and disregard the Open Meetings Act, whether by accident or by design.

Thank you,

Judy Reed, Editor

The Cedar Springs Post

 

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